Tinea pedis, or athlete's foot as it's popularly known, is the most common form of skin fungus. So, it's nothing to be embarrassed about; if you have it, you are far from alone. As mentioned in the first section, as many as 20 percent of people in the United States may this at any one time [source: Wallace].
As the popular name suggests, it commonly afflicts people who exercise in athletic shoes (which make the feet warm and moist from perspiration) and who frequent public locker rooms and swimming pools, where the fungus can spread.
Appearance-wise. athlete's foot can take on a few different guises. It could cause scales or fissures to form in between toes. Or, it can also affect other areas of the foot, causing blisters and other kinds of skin lesions on the heels, soles or along the sides. In addition to peeling and cracking skin, it usually causes burning and itching.
You can treat athlete's foot with an over-the-counter or prescription-strength topical anti-fungal cream, or with a pill including one of the following ingredients: itraconazole, fluconazole or terbinafine [source: Mayo Clinic].
Unfortunately, recurrence is quite common, even after prolonged treatment. To prevent athlete's foot, it's always wise to practice good hygiene, change socks often and avoid direct contact with communal locker-room floors.
Read on to the next page to learn more about skin fungi and other skin conditions.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Alexander, Margaret F. et al. "Nursing Practice: Hospital and Home: The Adult." Elsevier Health Services, 2006. (May 13, 2010).http://books.google.com/books?id=3Yz1QlhFEi4C
- Dhar, A. Damian, MD. "Candidiasis." The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. Last updated Aug. 2008. (May 13, 2010).http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec18/ch212/ch212b.html
- Dhar, A. Damian, MD. "Dematophytoses." The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library. Last updated Aug. 2008. (May 13, 2010).http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch120/ch120c.html
- Dockery, Gary L.., Mary Elizabeth Crawford. "Color Atlas of Foot and Ankle Dermatology." Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1999. (May 13, 2010).http://books.google.com/books?id=wQkML9WQfXsC
- Mayo Clinic. "Athlete's foot." Nov. 22, 2008 (May 13, 2010)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/athletes-foot/DS00317/METHOD=print&DSECTION=all
- Mayo Clinic. "Jock Itch." Nov. 15, 2008. (May 13, 2010)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/jock-itch/DS00490/METHOD=print
- Mayo Clinic. "Tinea versicolor." Feb 23, 2010. (May 13, 2010)http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tinea-versicolor/DS00635/METHOD=print&DSECTION=all
- Wallace, Robert B., and Neal Kohatsu "Public Health & Preventative Medicine." McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008. (May 13, 2010)http://books.google.com/books?id=5ACWr8YcB2AC
- WebMD. "Jock Itch." WebMD. Last updated March 24, 2009. (May 13, 2010)http://men.webmd.com/tc/jock-itch-topic-overview
- WebMD. "Tinea Versicolor." WebMD. Last updated Nov. 9, 2009. (May 13, 2010)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/tinea-versicolor-topic-overview
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