Athlete's foot is a dermatological condition diagnosed in more than 70% of the population, mostly men. It is easy to contract a fungal infection, a single contact with a sick person or an infected surface or object is enough. It has long been believed that athlete's foot does not require treatment, but this is a misconception.
Soon the patient feels discomfort and an unpleasant odor when walking. In addition, the appearance of the legs deteriorates, and if treated incorrectly, the beauty of the skin is lost forever. In order to identify the problem in time and conduct adequate therapy, we will consider the disease in more detail.
Causes of pathology and its types
Transmissible mycoses are usually caused by sac fungi (dermatophytes). Transmission of pathogenic microflora is real upon contact with it.
Many people have strong immune systems that can cope with the disease, but there are factors that contribute to rapid infection:
- Walking in someone else's shoes or barefoot - swimming pools, saunas, fitness studios are sources of infection. If you step on such soil, the fungi will immediately go on healthy skin;
- Foot injuries - with open wounds, it is easier for a fungal infection to penetrate the body and begin active reproduction. To prevent this, you need to treat damage with an antiseptic.
- Occupational factor - people who work in the bath, swimming pools, coal mines and other enterprises are at high risk of infection;
- Dermatological diseases - eczema, psoriasis, etc. ;
- Excessive sweating of the legs - a humid and warm environment is an ideal place for infections to multiply;
- Reduced immunity - a weakened body cannot withstand the development of pathology. Especially often the fungus affects elderly people suffering from atherosclerosis, diabetes, hallux valgus, HIV, etc. ;
- Wearing synthetic shoes - closed, tight shoes are an ideal breeding ground for fungal spores;
- Somatic diseases and disorders of the endocrine system;
- Uncontrolled treatment with immunosuppressants, antibacterial drugs, cytostatics and glucocorticoids that adversely affect the body;
- The use of contaminated tools for pedicure and manicure - in some salons, the cleanliness of the equipment used is neglected, and healthy people can pick up a fungus;
- hypothermia of the feet.
People who are overweight and suffer from poor blood circulation in the limbs are also susceptible to the disease. Constant depression, the presence of bad habits and treatment with antibiotics are factors that provoke a weakening of the immune system and, as a result, the development of mycoses.
Varieties of athlete's foot
The type of fungal disease is determined by the symptoms, most often they are pronounced. First, inflammation and itching appear, then the skin cracks and flakes.
In dermatology, a distinction is made between 4 forms of disease, which are caused by different types of fungi:
- Dermatophytosis (interdigital mycosis)- This type is the most common. First, the crease between the fourth and fifth fingers is affected, then the infection spreads to the entire foot. The wet form is characterized by swelling of the skin while the dry form is characterized by peeling and shedding of the dermis. Often dermatophytosis develops together with other bacterial infections, from which the disease develops into a neglected form. Over time, the symptoms intensify, the person complains of severe pain that cannot be eliminated. Cracked skin bleeds, causing additional suffering. At the psychological level, the patient tears it off, provoking a new infection;
- Dyshidrotic mycosis- It is characterized by the appearance of erosion and rashes on the skin. Pathology is transmitted only through contact with a sick person, so it is rarely diagnosed on the legs. Without treatment, mycotic eczema develops against the background of the negative effects of pathogenic organisms. The vesicular form is accompanied by constant burning, itching, swelling of the feet, and sometimes increased body temperature. A mild form of pathology is quickly eliminated if bacterial infection does not join;
- Hyperkeratotic fungus- in the advanced stage, the patient has deep cracks and the skin is damaged up to the ankle. At the beginning of development, the patient does not see any external manifestations of the pathology, there is no pain and itching, small cracks, peeling and redness are occasionally seen. If no action is taken, the form will soon develop into a dyshidrotic one;
- Erased mycosis- The patient does not complain about anything, there is a barely noticeable itching and peeling of the epidermis between the fingers. These people are the sources of infection because they don't notice the symptoms. The disease is caused by fungi of the genus Candida, the development period of pathogenic microflora is 14 days. Mycosis often goes away on its own without treatment.
Onychomycosis is often diagnosed, in which the fungus is localized in the nail plate. The calloused parts break and change color. Without adequate therapy, the nail is destroyed and an open wound is formed in its place.
How to recognize mycoses
The classic form of ringworm is accompanied by slight skin thickening and reddening. The affected areas are shiny and show increased patterns. The surface is dry, scales and grooves are observed. Most often, the pathology begins its development from the folds between the third and fourth fingers. In addition, the fungal infection spreads to other interdigital spaces, the sole and dorsum of the foot.
The main signs of mycosis are itching, burning, peeling, discoloration of the skin layer, excessive sweating. If you have at least two symptoms, it is better to see a doctor.
The erased course of pathology manifests itself rather weakly, and sometimes there are no signs at all. The squamous form is accompanied by the formation of large numbers of scales. With dyshidrotic mycosis, the skin is severely dehydrated, resulting in deep cracks on the foot. The intertriginous form is characterized by diaper dermatitis and the hyperkeratotic form by active keratinization of the skin.
In short, mycosis can be suspected by the following signs:
- sweating of the feet, the appearance of an unpleasant odor;
- cracks between fingers;
- small wounds and erosion;
- dryness of the epidermis, cracks, peeling;
- severe itching, patients often scratch the affected area to the point of blood;
- redness and burning;
- shine of the skin, its thickening, the appearance of whitish scales;
- small vesicles with a clear liquid;
- often the fungus is accompanied by the destruction of the nail plate (onychomycosis).
The severity of the symptoms varies in intensity. The patient may notice only a few signs from above, for example, peeling of the feet and itching. With neglected forms, blisters appear, the infected surface begins to itch badly, the skin peels off, and deep cracks appear. It is easier to deal with pathogenic microflora at the initial stages, so if even the most insignificant signs of a fungus are detected, you should immediately consult a doctor.
diagnosis of pathology
A dermatologist deals with the treatment of athlete's foot. If necessary, the doctor can call in other specialists. The first step is to interview the patient and examine the affected areas. For effective therapy, it is important to determine the type of pathogen, at this stage a sample of nails and skin is taken. According to the anamnesis, a general diagnosis is made, and to finally make sure that it is correct, the doctor sends the patient for additional laboratory tests.
How to cure athlete's foot
Most often, antifungal drugs are used to treat mycoses. They can completely destroy the infection or slow down its development. Creams, ointments, aerosols and gels effectively heal, disinfect the skin, kill the causative agent of mycosis and relieve unpleasant symptoms.
Popular drugs for local treatment of fungus
In most cases, dermatologists prescribe such funds:
- A spray that quickly kills the infection and disinfects clothes with shoes well. Suitable for the prevention and treatment of plantar, nail fungus and wounds on the palms;
- Balm is a cheap remedy that can remove the fungus on any part of the body. The natural composition allows its use during pregnancy and lactation. Active substances irritate the skin, so the ointment is applied carefully;
- A bactericidal cream is often used to treat fungi and lichen. The drug heals cracks, normalizes the functioning of the sweat glands, starts tissue regeneration;
- A tea tree oil based remedy that relieves pain, itching and local temperature. To prevent infection, feet and hands are smeared with the product after visiting public places;
- An antiseptic spray used to treat nails, hands and feet. It contains aggressive components, so you can use the product from the age of 3;
- Oil - effectively fights mycosis of the interdigital areas, and is also used for a continuous form of pathology. The oil softens, restores, relieves swelling and itching. The tool is more suitable for prevention;
- A drug with antifungal and antiseptic effects. Immediately relieves itching and swelling after the first application. The solution is added to the baths. Course - 7 days, 1 time per day. As an analogue, you can take potassium permanganate;
Medications are most commonly used to treat athlete's foot. If there is no improvement after 2 weeks, doctors prescribe antifungal drugs and injections.
Tablets for oral administration
In addition to local treatment, the pathology requires the use of more powerful drugs that act from the inside. Usually they are prescribed in advanced cases, when ointments and gels are ineffective. Tablets increase immunity, destroy the mycelium in the body and contribute to a speedy recovery.
You can not prescribe medication yourself, such actions only harm. Proper treatment is determined solely by the doctor.
Advanced stages require systematic therapy, which may involve alternative prescriptions.
Fungal treatment at home
Medicines allow you to supplement their therapeutic effects with folk recipes.
Proven ways to treat athlete's foot at home:
- celandine- a decoction of this plant helps a lot with mycosis. For cooking you need to take 4 tbsp. l. Raw materials, pour 1 liter of boiling water and boil for 3 minutes. Soak your feet in the liquid for half an hour. Do baths every day for 3 weeks in a row;
- Tar soap or birch tar- Kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, eliminate symptoms. The problem area is treated with foam and left for 4-5 minutes. The soap is then washed off and a zinc-containing cream is applied. The duration of treatment is 14 days. Birch tar is applied to steamed feet, treated with pumice, left for 1. 5 hours, washed with a napkin, but not washed off. The procedure is repeated every 2 days for 1-2 weeks;
- butter with garlic- To make a paste, garlic is crushed into a pulp and mixed with oil 1: 1. Lubricate the affected area with the resulting mass twice a day until all symptoms disappear.
- sour cream- a dairy product is used to eliminate the itching. You can make compresses out of it or just spread it on the infected area;
- Vinegar- Take 0. 5 liters of vinegar (9%), heat it to 40 degrees, pour it into any vessel and dip your feet there. The substance must not come into contact with healthy areas. After the procedure, the feet do not need to be washed, they are smeared with wine vinegar and socks are put on;
- instant coffee- They are sprinkled with cracks between the fingers and left for a while. You can also make yourself a strong drink and dip your feet in there before going to bed.
There are many methods of combating mycosis, but the main point in treatment is the right preparations and folk recipes.
To avoid fungal infection, it is enough to follow a few rules. This is especially true for people who serve in the army, work in a mine, and often visit baths and swimming pools, since it is very easy to get infected in such places.
Even if the fungus is already cured, it can return. To prevent relapse, you must follow preventive recommendations and follow the advice of a doctor.
The first rule is to take care of the immune system, because it is the weakening of the body's defenses that leads to the proliferation and activation of bacteria. For people with poor blood circulation, it is advisable to do therapeutic massage or gymnastics.
You only need to wear high-quality, comfortable and roomy shoes. After treating the fungus, be sure to disinfect all objects and surfaces at home. It is advisable to be less frequent in public places and always use personal shoes, towels, etc.
It is recommended to consume less sugar and eat right. If the skin looks infected, see a doctor right away for help. Timely treatment will allow you to quickly get rid of the problem and avoid complications.