Intensely itchy feet.
If you’ve ever suffered from an athlete’s foot infection, you know that feeling well. That itching, burning sensation that goes along with the unsightly blistering and scaling.
But what, exactly, is athlete’s foot, and what can you do to treat it? How do you get relief from this nasty infection?
What Is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis, is a catch-all phrase for almost any inflammatory skin disease that affects the sole of the foot and skin between the toes. Typically the skin is scaly and may have raw-like eruptions with weeping and oozing and possibly small blisters.
While it may be caused by a variety of different reasons, a fungal infection is usually the most common culprit. Fungus loves warmth and moisture, so in the dark spaces between the toes is a great place to set up shop, especially if your feet are wet for long periods of time or you sweat. It’s very closely related to other fungal infections such as ringworm and jock itch.
Where Does Athlete’s Foot Come From?
Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) caused by fungus can be contracted in a variety of locations, including gyms, locker rooms, swimming pools, communal showers, nail salons, or from contaminated socks, shoes, or clothing. Most people get it by walking barefoot where someone else with athlete’s foot had recently walked. It doesn’t affect everyone, as some are more prone to it than others.
Other causes of athlete’s foot can include contact allergy, erythrasma, bacterial infection, pompholyx, intertrigo, and occasionally psoriasis.
What Does Athlete’s Foot Look Like?
Athlete’s foot usually causes a red, scaly rash that typically begins in between the toes. The rash is incredibly itchy and is usually accompanied with a stinging and burning sensation. The itch is typically at its worst right after you remove your socks.
Some types of athlete’s foot can also cause blisters or ulcers. The moccasin variety causes chronic dryness and scaling that reaches up the side of the foot. It’s often mistaken for eczema or even simply dry skin.
If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk with your doctor:
- Itching, stinging, and burning between the toes
- Blisters on the feet that itch
- Dry skin on the soles or sides of the feet
- Discolored, thick, and crumbly toenails
- Itching, stinging, and burning on the soles of the feet
- Cracking and peeling skin on the feet, especially between the toes and on the soles
- Raw skin on the feet
- Toenails that pull away from the nail bed
How To Treat Athlete’s Foot
The first step towards getting back to comfort is to promote a clean, dry, and friction-free environment for the feet. Avoid any shoes that are made of non-breathable materials like vinyl. Avoid nylon socks, too, for the same reason. Opt for absorbent cotton socks that wick water away from your feet.
Sometimes soaking the feet in salt water or diluted vinegar may help to dry up any blisters.
You can’t know if your infection is caused by a fungus or not unless you go to the doctor to have a test done. The doctor will scrape a small area of infected skin and place it in potassium hydroxide (KOH), which destroys normal cells and leaves fungal cells behind so they are easy to see under the microscope.
If the cause is fungal in nature, athlete’s foot can often be treated with OTC topical antifungal medications. These could include miconazole, terbinafine, clotrimazole, butenafine, or tolnaftate. If an OTC solution isn’t working, your doctor may prescribe medications that include:
- Topical, prescription-strength clotrimazole or miconazole
- Oral antifungal medications like itraconazole, fluconazole, or prescription-strength terbinafine
- Topical steroid medications to help reduce painful inflammation
- Oral antibiotics if necessary to combat a secondary bacterial infection
A Revolutionary New Alternative
The main cause of fungal athlete’s foot is an opportunistic pathogen. During its infection, arachidonic acid is released by your body which is a big part of the inflammatory cascade. It leads to the formation of yeast hyphae, producing more yeast. An important fatty acid, sciadonic acid, has been found to stop this process.
For the first time, a revolutionary product, DELTA-5 by SciaEssentials, can offer the amazing strength of sciadonic acid, combining the potent anti-inflammatory properties, with its ability to fight fungal infections. Pressed from Mountain cypress seeds and harnessed into a non-greasy, non-toxic formula, DELTA-5 boasts a unique mechanism of action when incorporated into specific phospholipid pools, displacing pro-inflammatory arachidonic acid. Formulated into a high-grade, stable cosmetic oil, it has a longer shelf life than most oils.
The bonus is that in addition to decreasing the inflammation caused by the infection, DELTA-5 can improve the skin’s barrier function by strengthening the skin cells below the outer layer which serve as the skin barrier. Linoleic acid penetrates the skin and provides lipids and sciadonic acid to help to build and improve the skin’s ceramide structure.
So the next time you’re suffering the aggravating itchy-burny discomfort of athlete’s foot symptoms, what are you going to reach for? A straight-up anti-fungal or a can-do-it-all wonder that can improve the infection, give you relief, and help to repair the skin?