For those who have never heard of tinea pedis, the condition is more commonly known as athlete's foot. It is a very frequent skin condition that affects feet, especially between toes and the sole of the foot. Although it is called athlete's foot, the condition does not only affect athletes and it can be caused by a number of things, the most common of which is fungal infection. It spreads very easily, which is why it is important to sanitize footwear with a UV shoe sanitizer, and pay extra attention to clean socks and clothing, as foot fungal infections are highly contagious.
You can recognize tinea pedis, which is the medical term for athlete's foot, by its form of manifestation, which is usually a red, scaly eruption between the toes of a foot that more often than not itches. If it's not treated correspondingly or there is a delay in treatment, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the palms. The fungi that cause tinea pedis are numerous and people come in contact with them in a variety of ways and places, such as swimming pools, gyms, nail saloons, locker rooms and even airport security lines. Part of the reason it spreads so easily is that the fugus can spore. So even in environments where you would not expect fungus to thrive, you can pickup a spore. It also spreads very quickly and easily through personal contact or, in some cases, from already contaminated footwear, socks or other pieces of clothing. However, the most probable way of getting athlete's foot is for you to walk or step barefoot in places where other people who suffered from tinea pedis have walked or stepped. The chances of getting infected are not a hundred percent, as some people are resistant to the fungus, while others may be very sensitive to it.
Another informative fact about this type of fungal infection is that it needs specific conditions in order to be able to grow and infect the feet, such as a warm environment, or a moist one, such as showers or baths. It is because the fungus needs moisture to grow that doctors recommend sanitizing footwear in order to stop the infection from growing. The infection can be easily diagnosed through a simple skin inspection, but in some cases microscopy is used to rule out other similar causes like psoriasis or eczema. The tricky part is that there are no distinguishable symptoms when it comes to this kind of skin infection, as it mostly appears like dry skin, which is what most of the people think they have. However, the most common symptoms are itching, flaking and scaling and in some rare cases, inflammation and pain.
As mentioned, the condition is not rare at all and almost 70% of the population eventually develops it in a life time. Since shoes are prime breading grounds for this fungus, sanitizing footwear with a UV shoe sanitizer in combination with topical antifungal medication and hygiene measures, such as keeping your feet dry, using vinegar soaks or dilute clorox soaks and wearing flip-flops in public showers is the best way to proactively prevent and treat this condition. Of course, if you think you have athlete’s foot you should confirm this with your doctor.