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Athlete's foot (Tinea Pedis) is an infection of the foot caused by fungus. Athlete's foot can become chronic and reoccur.
Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors
The body normally hosts a variety of microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi. Some of these are useful to the body while others may, under certain conditions, multiply rapidly and cause infections. Athlete's foot occurs when a particular type of fungus grows and multiplies in your feet, especially between the toes.
Of the fungal infections known as tinea infections, Athlete's foot is the most common. It may occur at the same time as other fungal skin infections. These fungi thrive in warm, moist areas.
Your risk for getting athlete's foot increases if you:
· Wear closed shoes, especially if they are plastic lined.
· Keep your feet wet for prolonged periods of time.
· Sweat a lot.
· Develop a minor skin or nail injury.
· Have direct contact with contaminated items such as shoes, stockings, and shower or pool surfaces.
The most common symptom is cracked, flaking, or peeling skin between the toes. The affected area is usually red and itchy and there may be the feeling of burning or stinging. There may also be blisters, oozing, or crusting. In addition to the toes, the symptoms can also occur on the heels. If the fungus spreads to your nails, they can become discoloured, thick, and even crumble.