Athlete's Foot: Symptoms and Diagnosis
Determining whether you’ve developed a case of athlete’s foot is relatively easy. There are plenty of symptoms that
indicate the fungi’s
presence. Don’t expect,
though, to experience every symptom of this contagious infection.
You may only have a fraction of them.
athlete’s foot is recognized by an itching, burning or stinging between
your toes. More often than, not
the infection settles into the space between you last two toes. You may also
notice these same symptoms on the soles of your feet.
Your feet, if affected with
this infection, may develop itchy blisters. Another indication of the
presence of this fungus is cracking and peeling of the skin on your feet.
This usually occurs in the same areas that the burning happens –
between your toes and on the soles of your feet.
You may also notice that the
sides and bottoms of your feet are extremely dry. These too are signs that you have contracted athlete’s
Athlete’s foot can also
affect the health and condition of your toenails.
If your nails are thick or discolored then you may have athlete’s
foot. Additionally, toenails
that are crumbly, ragged or pulling away from the nail bed may also be
infected with tinea pedis.
When you visit your health
care practitioner with these symptoms, his initial reaction will no doubt be
to ensure that the infection is caused by tinea pedis and not by some other
skin disorder. He’ll probably
want to exclude the possibility that these conditions could have been caused
by dermatitis or by psoriasis. Be
prepared to be able to answer some questions about your being exposed to
contaminated areas or being in contact with individuals who may have
Your health care practitioner
may take scrapings of the affected skin. These will be evaluated under a microscope to identify the
type of fungus. If, indeed, a fungus is causing these problems, he’ll most
likely prescribe an antifungal medication.
The possibility may also
exist that the test of the skin scraping fails to indicate the presence of
any fungus. If your health care
practitioner still suspects that a fungus is to blame for your condition, he
may send a sample of your skin to a laboratory to discover if fungus would
grow under the proper conditions. This
test is called a culture. He
may also decide to order one if you’ve undergone treatment for the
condition and no improvement is seen.