Athletes’ foot (Superficial fungal infection)

There are over a thousand entities in dermatology; it is difficult to understand all in just a few pages. We are going to describe a few common skin problems. This is purely educational; if you have a skin disease, please consult your dermatologist.

In general, there are 3 types of pathogens: bacteria, viruses and fungi (or yeasts). Superficial fungal infections are more common in men than women. 70% of us will have athlete’s foot more than once in our lifetime.

The fungus can produce an enzyme that can breakdown our skin barrier. When our feet get infected, the skin will look macerated and soggy in appearance, and can easily breakdown on scratching. Sometimes small vesicles appear and the skin can be quite itchy.

We sometimes need to identify the offending fungus by laboratory culture before starting treatment. Often a topical anti-fungal medication will do the trick. In more resistant cases, an oral anti-fungal course for 1 to 2 weeks may be required.

Walking around on bare feet may pick up the fungus again and is not advised.

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