Monday, March 20, 2006—Drying skin ... itching ... scaling ... inflammation ... and blisters. These are all symptoms and/or signs of Athlete’s foot, a skin disease caused by a fungus which usually occurs between the toes.If you’re experiencing any of these signs, don’t give up hope – you can still put your best foot forward.

Many are not aware that the fungus oftentimes attacks the feet because the shoes worn by a person create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth, according to the Foot & Ankle Specialists, PC. The warmth and dampness of areas surrounding swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms are also breeding grounds for fungi. Due to the fact that the infection was common among athletes who frequented these facilities, the term “athlete’s foot” became popular.

Athlete’s foot may spread to the soles of the feet and to the toenails. It can be spread to other parts of the body as well, particularly the groin and underarms, by those who scratch the infection and then touch themselves elsewhere.

There is even more concern for African Americans with diabetes. According to Dr. Nelson, African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes than the general population, with 25 percent of African Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 diagnosed with the disease. Because diabetes is a systematic disease affecting many different parts of the body, the podiatric physician can play an integral role in the treatment and prevention of amputations. What’s the key to amputation prevention in diabetic patients? Early recognition and annual foot screenings from a podiatric physician.

Although it is not extremely easy to prevent athlete’s foot, you can prevent infection by adhering to the following tips:

> Wash feet daily, drying carefully between the toes
> Inspect feet and toes daily for cuts, bruises, sores or changes to the toenails
> Avoid walking barefoot
> Change shoes and hose regularly to decrease moisture
> Consider using a quality foot powder daily
> Never try to remove calluses, corns or warts by yourself

Following these foot notes and consulting with your podiatric physician can make a major difference and help you to still put your best foot forward! So, let’s step out on faith and take it step by step!