Athlete’s foot is a term used to describe a certain type of fungal infection. It is called that because athletes often get this type of infection because their sweaty cleats or shoes help to harbor the fungus. When someone has athlete’s foot, it can cause their skin to become flaky and itchy.
While athlete’s foot is most commonly found on the feet, it can occur on the hands occasionally. When found on the feet, it is known as tinea pedis. When it is found on the hands, it is medically known as tinea manuum. If you forget to wash your hands after you touch an infected foot or shoe, it can end up spreading to your hands. Once there, it will tend to affect the palms and the spaces between your fingers the most.
What Are the Causes of Athlete’s Food on Hands?
There are several different reasons why you may develop athlete’s foot on your hands. The most common causes include the following:
1. Soil or Animal Contact
Animals can spread this infection. If you have contact with animals through hunting or have a pet, you may end up getting athlete’s foot on your hands. People who garden or work with the soil may also be able to catch this disease.
2. Skin Contact
It is very easy for this fungus to transfer through skin-to-skin contact. If you touch an infected person, then you could end up developing athlete’s foot. Since most people do not deliberately touch someone else’s foot, it is more likely that you developed athlete’s foot on another part of your body like your feet or groin and unintentionally spread the infection to your hands.
3. Touching Personal Belongings
Athlete’s foot can spread if the infected person touches their belongings with the infected part of their body. This disease could be spread through infected shoes, towels, bed linens or hair brushes. If you already have a skin condition like eczema, then you have a higher risk of developing athlete’s foot.
What Are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot on Hands?
While symptoms may occasionally vary from person to person, most people will have fairly similar symptoms. The most common sign is an itchy rash on your fingers or hands. You may develop ring-like marks that have raised, inflamed borders where your rash has begun to heal. Your skin may also become so dry that it begins to peel.
Other than these symptoms, you may also experience an itching or burning sensation. When the condition is at its worst, you may develop small blisters that ooze a type of pus. As the condition begins to heal, your skin may appear to be discolored. Since other skin conditions are more common on the hands, it may be difficult for your doctor to diagnose the fungal infection. If it is allowed to spread, it can make your nails brittle and thickened.
Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot
1. Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt
Fungi cannot live for long in an acidic condition, so acidic products can help to kill the infection. Blend ½ cup apple cider vinegar, warm water and two tablespoons of salt together. Afterward, soak your hands in the mixture for 20 minutes. You can also use the solution as a spray or on a clean cloth to coat the affected areas after you take a shower.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide has antifungal properties, so it can kill off athlete’s foot. Blend a gallon of water with a pint of store-bought hydrogen peroxide. Then, soak your hands in the mixture for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes at night. While this treatment is effective, it can also be slightly painful if your skin is already dry or cracked.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Another at-home antifungal agent is tea tree oil. This mixture will keep the infection from spreading and help to kill it. Mix 10 drops of tea tree oil in a bowl of water. Afterward, soak your hands in the mixture for 10 minutes before drying them completely.
4. Over-the-Counter Treatments
Since athlete’s foot is a common condition, there are many over-the-counter treatments available for it. Pick the powder, cream or spray that works best for you. Follow the directions on the label and make sure to use it on some of the healthy skin surrounding the infection because this area may have already been affected. Make sure to use the medication for two weeks to make sure that the fungal spores have been completely killed off.
5. Antifungal Medication
If home remedies and over-the-counter treatments do not work, you may have an advanced case of athlete’s foot. Go to your doctor for a diagnosis. Afterward, your doctor may give you an antifungal pill like Lamisil, Sporanox or Diflucan. If the infection has already spread to the underside of your nails, you may need an even more intensive treatment.