Athlete’s foot is also known as tinea pedis in medical terms. It is an infection of the feet caused by fungus.
The fungi that cause the infection of the feet are called as dermatophytes. These fungi invade the “dead” outer layers of the skin. This fungus thrives and multiplies in a warm and moist environment. Some of the common risk factors involved in the development of Athlete’s foot are listed below:
- Excessive perspiration of the feet and the soles
One of the most common risk factor that increases your chances of developing the fungal infection of feet is excessive perspiration of the feet. Excessive sweating of the feet is common in athletes as they are involved in regular and strenuous physical exercise and sports. It is also common in people who are involved in hard physical labor, such as construction workers. In other cases, even people who tend to sweat excessively are more prone to develop tinea pedis. The excessive perspiration makes the toes, soles and the toe webs or the area between the toes moist and damp. This proves to be an excellent breeding ground for the fungi. They thrive in this damp environment. They multiply and attack the skin between the toes. They cause excessive flaking and peeing of the skin, leading to the development of the athlete’s foot.
- Wearing poorly ventilated socks and shoes
Another factor that increases your risk of developing athlete’s foot is wearing poorly ventilated socks and shoes. This increases the sweating of the soles and the feet and creates a moist warm environment around the feet. The fungi grow and multiply in the moistness and attack the feet causing tinea pedis.
- Wearing someone else’s shoes
Another common mistake that we make is wearing someone else’s shoes. If the person is suffering from tinea pedis and we wear his shoes, even though if its for a few minutes or a short period of time, the fungi attack the feet and cause athlete’s foot.
- Walking barefooted in shower rooms and locker rooms
Athlete’s foot is contagious, and can be passed through direct contact with the floor of shower rooms and locker rooms as these are damp and moist and ideal breeding ground for the fungi.
- Keeping feet wet for prolonged periods
A person who works in moist and damp environment, such as laborers working in rice fields, are more at a risk of developing fungal infections as their feet remain wet and moist for prolonged periods of time.
- Developing a nail injury or a shoe bite
The risk of developing tinea pedis increases in cases where the person has an injury to the toe nail or even a simple shoe bite as fungi may thrive on this infection and attack the surrounding skin of the feet causing excessive flaking, peeling and patchy skin.