Medically known as Tinea Pedis, Athlete’s foot is a foot infection caused by fungus that usually begins to grow between toes. It is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin on the foot. Athlete’s foot can also affect soles or sides of the feet. If not treated well, it can spread to the toenails and hands. Athlete’s foot commonly occurs in people whose feet become very sweaty due to the confinement to tight fitted shoes. Athletes are more likely to sweat because of tight shoes. This is the reason why this fungal infection is known as ‘Athlete’s foot’. Athlete’s foot sometimes causes fluid-filled blisters. These blisters are small pockets of body fluids like lymph, serum, plasma, blood or pus within the upper layers of skin. They are caused by rubbing, burning, freezing, chemical exposures or injections. Most blisters are filled with clear fluid, either serum or plasma. Athlete’s foot isn’t serious but it is sometimes hard to cure. If you are diabetic or have a weak immune system, you must see a doctor. Common symptoms of Athlete’s foot include a scaly red rash between the toes, itching, blisters, chronic dryness, etc.
Causes of Athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot occurs primarily because of the growth of tinea fungus on the foot. It can also be caused because of other kinds of fungi which produce ringworm and jock itch. Damp socks and shoes contain a lot of moisture and this might favour growth of fungi. It is commonly found in showers, locker room floors and around swimming pools. You can catch the fungus through direct contact with an infected person, or by touching objects contaminated with the fungi, such as towels, floors, and shoes.
Risk factors for Athlete’s foot
1. Risks of athlete’s foot are higher in men than in women.
2. Wearing damp socks or tightly fitted shoes can increase risks of athlete’s foot.
3. Sharing mats, rugs, bed linens, clothes or shoes with someone who has a fungal infection can also cause athlete’s foot.
4. If you walk barefoot in public areas where the infection can spread, such as locker rooms, saunas, swimming pools, communal baths, and showers, you can be infected by Athlete’s foot.
5. After keeping your feet wet for long periods of time, your feet becomes moist. This also happens after swimming or taking a long shower. The foot area becomes extremely soft and sensitive, hence encouraging the growth of fungus.
6. If you have a minor skin or nail injury on your foot, it may lead to athlete’s foot.
7. If you have generally sweaty feet, you are prone to risks of athlete’s foot.
Symptoms of Athlete’s foot
Itching, stinging and burning between the toes or soles, blisters on the foot causing itching or irritation, cracks or peeling on feet’s skin, dry skin on soles and sides of feet, raw skin on feet, discoloured or crumbled toenails or toenails pulling away from nail bed are all symptoms of athlete’s foot.
Do’s and Don’ts for Athlete’s foot
1. Dry your feet after washing them, particularly between your toes. Dab them dry instead of rubbing them.
2. Use a separate towel to wash your feet and wash it regularly.
3. Take off your shoes when you are at home.
4. Wear clean socks and shoes every day. Cotton socks are most recommended.
1. Don’t scratch the affected skin- this can spread the infection to other parts of your body.
2. Don’t walk barefoot. Wear flip-flops in places like showers and changing rooms.
3. Don’t share towels and socks with anyone and especially those who are already affected by the infection.
4. Don’t wear shoes that confine your feet and make them sweaty. Wear shoes of your size; one which does not restrict your foot movement.
Preventions of Athlete’s foot
Following are some tips to prevent athlete’s foot
1. Put antifungal powder on your feet every day.
2. Don’t share socks, shoes or towels with others.
3. Wear sandals or flip-flops in public areas like swimming pools, saunas, etc.
4. To kill the infections wash your feet regularly. Washing with an antifungal recommendation would treat most cases of an Athlete’s foot.
5. Change socks every day and shoes on every second day.
Athlete’s foot infection generally responds to the antifungal treatments. However, long-term infection is difficult to eliminate. For long-term treatment for athlete’s foot, antifungal medication is necessary.
Monsoon season is such that the foot is more likely to carry moisture. So this season, if you get drenched in the rain or otherwise, remember to keep your foot clean and sanitized. We don’t want you to be wearing shoes to an Athlete’s foot.
The Perfect Guide To Take Care Of Your Arthritic Knee
A certain nip in the air, frequent urge for a steaming cup of tea and an endearing love for sleeping a little longer inside the snuggly quilt is back. The season of blankets, warmers and soups is here! While it brings with itself festive spirit and joy, it is dreaded by the elderly and arthritis patients for it increases their difficulty. With a dip in the mercury, many patients experience increased knee pain, stiffness and unease due to restricted bodily circulations and elasticity of soft tissues caused by atmospheric pressure. Often mistaken as age-related wear and tear or seasonal change, it could be potential signs of arthritis inflammation of the joints and seek medical intervention
Timely clinical advice and necessary precautions can go a long way in managing this pain that aggravates with the onset of winter. It can be addressed by making certain lifestyle changes.
“People tend to become lazy in winters. This can impact the knees and increase the level of pain in cases where people are already undergoing arthritis treatment.A regular 30-minute workout can help lubricate the joints and stimulate blood circulation in the body,” stressed Dr. Dhananjay Gupta, Fortis Hospital, New Delhi.
“Staying active is the key to strengthen the muscles supporting the joint, thereby helping in improved joint function. Along with exercises, staying hydrated can control wear and tear of joints,” he added.
For those suffering from chronic knee pain or knee arthritis, the cold can be worse for the joints. But, if the pain is acute and knee arthritis is in the chronic or degenerative stage, one can consider Total Knee Replacement (TKR) therapy.
Sharing his take on the effectiveness of the therapy, Dr.Gupta shared, “When all the alternate treatments such as medications, arthroscopic interventions fail to provide relief to the patients, a TKR therapy is advised. It is the last option for treating severely impaired knees and is one of the safest orthopedic procedures.By replacing a diseased knee cap with a sturdy implant, it not only helps relieve pain, restores knee function but also improves the individual’s quality of life significantly. With a strict physiotherapy routine, a patient can be completely mobile within 6 weeks of the procedure.”
Take precautionary measures. Sometimes, patients who have sought clinical advice or had a knee surgery in the past, experience pain during winters. A visit to the doctor will help you understand the symptoms better. The medical expert will analyse your medical profile and prescribe precautions accordingly- workouts, physiotherapy, proper diet, supplements etc. to strengthen bones during winters.An active lifestyle can keep joint pain away, especially for arthritis patients. Don’t let the cold wave outdoor deter you from exercise. Push yourself to take small walk breaks at work or while lounging around at home to keep your weight under control.There is nothing that heals the joints like Vitamin D does. Get as much sun as possible to fuel aching joints. And regulate your diet with nutritious and vitamin rich foods such as orange, spinach, broccoli, dairy products and dry fruits.A knee joint takes maximum stress than any other joint, so instead of wearing heavy sweaters and cardigans that can add up to your body weight chose layering of light yet warm clothes.Joint movement improves blood circulation to its peripheral areas leading to reduced stiffness. So, move out of your blankets to stretch and move around a little.
Eat more dietary fibre to lower risk of non-communicable diseases
Here’s another reason why you should increase your consumption of dietary fibre!
According to a recent study, high intake of dietary fibre and whole grains is linked to reduced risk of non-communicable diseases as compared to people who eat lesser amounts.
Fibre rich fruits include bananas, oranges, apples, mangoes, strawberries, raspberries, while beans, legumes or darker coloured vegetables too have high-fibre content.
Furthermore, whole grain breads or nuts like almonds, pistachios or pumpkin and sunflower seeds too have a high-fibre content in them.
The findings appear in the journal The Lancet.
Observational studies and clinical trials conducted over nearly 40 years reveal the health benefits of eating at least 25g to 29g or more of dietary fibre a day, according to a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
The results suggest a 15-30 per cent decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality when comparing people who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. Eating fibre-rich foods also reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24 per cent.
In addition, a meta-analysis of clinical trials suggested that increasing fibre intakes was associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intakes.
The study was commissioned by the World Health Organisation to inform the development of new recommendations for optimal daily fibre intake and to determine which types of carbohydrate provide the best protection against non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and weight gain.
Speaking about it, Professor Jim Mann, corresponding author at the University of Otago, New Zealand said, “Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases.”
The study also found that diets with a low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load provided limited support for protection against type 2 diabetes and stroke only.
Foods with a low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load may also contain added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. This may account for the links to health being less clear.
Researchers study patterns of back pain
Researchers have examined the patterns of back pain over time and patient characteristics in relation to the disability.
In addition, they have identified the extent of healthcare and medication use (including opioids) associated with different patterns.
Back pain is among the most frequently reported health problems in the world.
For the study, researchers from the University Health Network’s Krembil Research Institute in Toronto, Canada studied 12,782 participants for 16 years.
They provided data on factors including comorbidities, pain, disability, opioid and other medication use, and healthcare visits.
The results showed that almost half (45.6 per cent) of the participants reported back pain at least once.
The study included four groups of pain: persistent (18 per cent), developing (28.1 per cent), recovery (20.5 per cent), and occasional (33.4 per cent).
The findings, published in Arthritis Care and Research, showed that the persistent and developing groups tended to have more pain and disability, as well as more healthcare visits and medication use than those in the recovery and occasional trajectory groups.
In addition, the recovery trajectory group increased the use of opioids and antidepressants over time.
“The good news is that one in five people with back pain recovered. However, they continued to use opioids and antidepressants, suggesting that people recovering from back pain need ongoing monitoring,” said lead author Mayilee Canizares, postdoctoral candidate from the varsity.
The bad news is that one in five experienced persistent back pain, said Canizares.
People with back pain are a heterogeneous group that may benefit from different approaches to management rather than a traditional one size fits all approach.The distinct groups identified in the study may represent opportunities for more individualised treatment and preventative strategies, Canizares noted.