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Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot

Updated on December 7, 2010

Athlete's foot may not be considered a medical emergency but the symptoms are disturbing enough to make you want to do a number of drastic measures. Initial signs should also be watched out for in order to successfully treat the condition before things get worse. The condition is actually very treatable but can get complicated if left unattended.

Basic Athlete's Foot Symptoms

Initially, athlete's foot will manifest itself through small red prick-like dots on the instep and sole. You will most likely feel itchiness in the area. Later on, the itchy feeling may be accompanied by warmth while the red dots may get larger and form bumps. The feet at some point will start to scale, peel and crack. Some cracks may be large resulting to bleeding and bumps may develop into huge blisters. At this point, the skin is broken down or macerated and feels itchy and hot.

Between the two smallest toes, you will most likely have toe web or interdigital infection. This is very common wherein the skin will feel soft and moist and appear pale white with some mold formation. The area harbors a lot of fungus and bacteria as well and will emit a foul odor. As the infection spreads, nearby regions of the feet will also start to itch, burn and smell bad. If left untreated, toe web infection will cause other areas to scale, peel and crack. These are also ideal places for other microorganisms especially bacteria which can infect the wound. Interdigital infection is the most common type of athlete's foot. The condition may sometimes be confused with pitted keratolysis due to a few similar symptoms like bad odor and sweaty skin.

Characterizing Types and Symptoms

The moccasin type of athlete's foot is chronic in nature and takes time to treat before the infection is completely gone. Initially, the infection will present symptoms like mild skin irritation, burning or itchiness. The foot also tends to appear scaly and feels dry. The condition will then progress to thickened skin due to continues scaling and cracking. Affected areas that peel include the heel or sole as well as other weight-bearing regions. Serious moccasin type infections can also affect the toenails wherein these will thicken, crumble or fall out. Avoid scratching itchy areas and always wash your hands regularly to keep the infection from spreading to other parts of the body.

Vesicular infection is the least common type of athlete's foot. Initial symptoms may include sudden appearance of large fluid-filled areas under the skin. These blisters may be present on the instep, between the toes, on the heel, sole or on top of the feet. Between skin irritations and eruptions, scales may also form. Vesicular infection will most likely reoccur after the first infection. In some cases, bacterial infection may also occur which can make sores and wounds harder to treat.

Athlete's foot symptoms can range anywhere from mild to severe. Duration can last from a few days up to several months depending on the progress and treatment regimen. The fungal infection can invite other types of infection so you should learn how to check for warning symptoms like soggy skin and painful eroded interdigital areas. Check your hands for signs of fungal spread. Pruritus, intertrigo and dermatophytosis are just some of the other possible complications you need to watch out for.


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