When a person's foot is infected with the tinea fungus then the condition of Athlete's foot is created. This virus is generally present in a warm and moisture condition like the environment in locker room floors, swimming pool dressing rooms, washrooms having showers and continuous wet floors etc. It is a contagious fungal virus and can come to one's feet through various direct or indirect contacts with various surfaces where it is already present. A person can get it through direct contact with an infected person or by touching the contaminated and moistened surfaces. The chances of getting it are more for those persons who are habitual of walking barefoot in public utility places, showers and swimming pools, sauna baths, sharing socks/shoes/towels and other such items with other people one of whom could have the infection, wearing tight shoes with socks, having sweaty feet, not keeping good hygiene, keeping feet wet for longer times etc.
If a person has got this condition then he would have certain symptoms which are characteristic of this particular infection and he would feel itching and burning sensation in his toes or soles of his feet. Sometimes blisters are also formed on these itching sites and the person might feel uncomfortable and many times scratch them which in fact deteriorates the condition further. The itching and stinging feeling at the toes is really unbearable and creates a lot of inconvenience to the person suffering from Athlete's foot. In some cases the toe nails are also affected and start crumbling and become lose in their place.
The doctors cannot just tell by seeing the site of infection whether that is some eczema type of condition or some skin problem or Athlete's foot. So, they would go for a detailed test known as Potassium Hydroxide examination. In this the sample of the site by scrapping some small part of skin is taken and then is treated with potassium hydroxide which dissolves the normal cells but keeps these fungal cells untouched and now the pathologist can see them under microscope in details.
In modern medicines this condition is treated with the help of anti fungal drug chemical formulations like miconazole, terbinafine, itraconazole, fluconazole, clotrimazole, butenafine, tolnaftate etc. Different drug manufacturers make them under different brand names. These preparations come in various forms like powders, sprays, ointments, and lotions.
There are many home remedies and natural prescriptions that are useful in this condition. Some of them are -
1. Soaking feet in salt water or diluted vinegar helps in drying up the blisters.
2. 50% solution of tea tree oil is seen effective in healing this condition.
3. Neem oil is having excellent anti fungal properties and helps a lot in this condition.
4. The extract of crushed garlic cloves is also found very useful in this condition.
Knowledge is power.