When it comes to rashes, many people find themselves not wanting to talk about their symptoms. But in the case of a more serious rash, like athlete's foot, it's important to be able to talk to a doctor about your symptoms. Athlete's foot is a very common, itchy red rash between the toes. While easily treated, athlete's foot can become a more serious problem if left untreated. This article is going to discuss some common causes, symptoms, and treatment options for athlete's foot as well as when it's time to see a doctor.
Causes and Symptoms
The main cause of athlete's foot is the same fungus that causes jock itch and ringworm. This fungus thrives in warm, damp areas, like shoes and socks (not to mention locker rooms and showers). Once this fungus has formed, it grows rapidly and is very contagious. While there are different types of athlete's foot, common symptoms experienced by all types include:
- Small, red blisters
- Itchy rash between the toes
- Red ulcers or sores that may leak fluid and have a potent smell
- Dryness and scaling on the sides of the feet
This fungus can be spread through direct contact, like touching your feet then touching your arm, or through contact with contaminated surfaces.
Because athlete's foot is extremely contagious, it should be treated as soon as the slightest symptoms are noticed. There are plenty of over-the-counter products that aim to treat athlete's foot and even a number of home remedies to cure the rash. These antifungal treatments should be applied directly to the affected area after it's washed and dried. After applying the treatment, you should make sure to wash your hands. Treatment should be continued until the rash has cleared up. However, if the rash doesn't clear up, it's time to seek urgent medical care.
When to See a Doctor
If the rash continues to worsen despite treatment, it's time to visit an urgent care center. Fortunately, there are about 20,000 physicians who specialize in Urgent Care Medicine so you won't have trouble finding medical help. You should see a doctor if the rash looks infected, the rash has turned into ulcers and is leaking fluid, the rash has spread to your toenails, or if it's simply not going away. An urgent care physician may prescribe a stronger medicine to kill the fungus.
Generally, athlete's foot will go away with the help of a basic antifungal treatment. However, if it doesn't go away or continues to worsen, it's important to see a doctor to get the medical treatment you need to kill the fungus.