Infections such as athlete’s foot (officially known as Tinea Pedis) are essentially a fungal infection of the foot, caused by a group of fungi that reside on your feet called dermatophytes, which feed off dead skin tissue. These suddenly and rapidly multiply, resulting in an itchy red rash that can become scaly and flaky. Since feet provide a warm, humid and dark environment, they are the perfect place for this bacteria to thrive.
Knowing the Causes
The cause of these infections can vary, but some of the most common causes are:
- Damp Skin. Leaving the skin of your feet damp when you put on shoes and/or socks after taking a shower or a swim creates a perfect habitat for the fungi and bacteria to thrive
- Coming into Contact. Although the fungi and bacteria are pretty much always there, coming into contact with a concentration of them can allow them to multiply and take hold, so avoid sharing towels, socks or shoes
- Walking Barefoot. Related to the previous point, it helps to make sure you don’t put yourself in a position where you could come into contact with the fungus. Places with the highest likelihood are public showers and pools, so always wear flip flops, or shower shoes, when in these areas
- Being Overweight. One of the side effects of being overweight can be an increase in perspiration from your feet, and could encourage further growth of bacteria and fungi. If you’re slightly overweight then it’s important to take heed of these other tips to make sure that you’re not at risk of athlete’s foot
- Weakened Immune System. Your body is constantly fighting off the bacteria and fungus that would cause athlete’s foot, but when your immune system is lowered by the cold and flu, then your body might not be able to keep them at bay, allowing the fungus to take a hold. As with the previous point, make sure that you’re extra careful if you think this could apply to you
Treatments are widely available, and will usually involve medicines or antifungal treatments that you can apply directly onto the affected area. It’s always important to read and follow all on-pack directions.