What Happens When Athlete’s Foot is Left Untreated?

What Happens When Athlete’s Foot is Left Untreated?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that usually develops between the toes. If you’re afflicted with athlete’s foot, the skin between your toes may feel itchy, and your skin may begin to look red, dried, and cracked. 

You may see your skin become thicker and whiter, and you may develop blisters filled with foul-smelling fluid. 

Left untreated, athlete’s foot usually doesn’t lead to severe complications. However, it often becomes a major annoyance, making it more difficult for sufferers to enjoy day-to-day life. 

Immunocompromised patients, such as patients who’ve undergone chemotherapy or suffer from diabetes, may also be at a higher risk of having the fungal infection spread to other parts of their bodies. 

Dr. Francine Rhinehart, our specialist, regularly treats athlete’s foot. We asked her about the causes and symptoms of athlete’s foot, as well as the treatments used to treat the condition.

Causes and risk factors 

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that can be transmitted from one person to another through contact. For example, if an infected person uses the shower at the gym before you, and then you enter the shower cabin barefoot, you can catch the fungus from them.

You may also be at a higher risk of catching athlete’s foot if you share towels, slippers, bath mats, or bedding with someone who carries the fungus. 

Preventing athlete’s foot 

There are a few simple steps you can take to prevent getting athlete’s foot, including the following:

Another way you can avoid athlete’s foot is by not sharing towels with other people. Even if they don’t have a fungal infection, they can still carry the fungus. 

Treating the fungal infection

Athlete’s foot is commonly treated with an antifungal cream. These are available over the counter and contain one of the following ingredients: clotrimazole, ketoconazole, miconazole, and terconazole.

Diabetics and people who experience sores that leak fluid and sores that spread should seek immediate medical attention, as they may require prescription-strength medication. Diabetics are also at an increased risk of developing a bacterial infection due to their compromised immune systems. 

On average, it takes about two weeks for the antifungal medication to work. If an over-the-counter cream doesn’t work, contact us to schedule an appointment. Dr. Rhinehart is more than happy to examine your feet and prescribe a treatment course that will help you manage your fungal infection. 

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