If your feet itch, you're most likely suffering from either athlete's foot or dry skin. While these two conditions both result in some serious scratching, and can produce red, flaky patches as well as peeling, cracked skin, treatment options drastically differ. Sufferers must therefore learn to distinguish between these two ailments to find relief.
ATHLETE'S FOOT --versus-- DRY SKIN
As the name suggests, the most common cause of athlete's foot is perspiration, meaning everyone – not just athletes – are susceptible.
Wet feet trapped in closed-in shoes, socks and hosiery provide the perfect environment for the athlete's foot fungus, which thrives in warm, dark, moist climates.
If you're displaying any of the above mentioned symptoms, yet also show signs of blistering, you most likely have the fungal infection commonly referred to as athlete's foot. Commonly found between the fourth and fifth toes, athlete's foot can appear anywhere on the foot, and is contagious.
Also called tinea pedis, athlete's foot can result in red, burning, scaly, itchy feet, and usually appears as a scaling rash, making your feet feel like they're "on fire."
The best way to prevent against athlete's foot is to keep your feet dry. If you do get athlete's foot, however, careful hygiene and the regular use of anti-fungal creams and powders should alleviate symptoms.
Practice the following to guard against athlete's foot:
If the problem persists or reoccurs on a regular basis, The Podiatry Institute recommends that you see a podiatrist to determine if the skin rash is due to another cause.
While dry skin is not a dangerous condition, it can become painful,
and if the cracking starts to bleed, it can lead to infection – an especially serious problem for anyone with a chronic disease such as diabetes, or a lowered immune system due to age or illness.
Dry skin can result from a variety of reasons:
Dry skin, usually the culprit behind cracked heels, commonly appears on such areas of the feet as the souls and heels. As explained above, you most likely have dry skin if your feet display the following symptoms:
The best way to treat and also prevent dry, cracked skin on your feet is to use good therapeutic ointments and creams. Avoid using lotions, as these often contain alcohol, which actually dries the skin out more.
Additional therapies include the following:
Make sure you avoid getting cream and ointment between your toes, as the additional moisture can lead to bacterial infections such as athlete's foot. If the dry skin and cracking worsen, or bleeding occurs, consult
Information on foot, leg and lower body health conditions provided by The Podiatry Institute, dedicated to advancing the standard of care in podiatric medicine and its effects on muscoskeletal health.
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