Athletes foot is usually caused by a fungus, and is commonly referred to as tinea pedis.  You may often experience itchiness, peeling skin, and maybe see redness in between your toes or on the bottom of your feet.  However between your toes, thre can be a break in skin due to increase in moisture that breaks down the skin, or due to skin peeling and causing an opening.  You may not be able to see it, but it is there.  This is a very easy entry for bacteria to enter and cause a bacterial infection.  

A bacterial infection may be signified by an increase in redness that does not stay in the innerspace between your toes but may actually travel up your foot, or even worse, it may be very deep in the middle of your foot and cause an abscess, or puss pocket, to form.  You would probably also experience a lot of pain, especially when you walk, as the infection becomes worse.  You might even see some sort of drainage; if it is thick, yellow in color, and have an odor, it may be puss. If it is indeed a bacterial infection, at the very least your doctor will prescribe an oral antibiotic that will fight the bacteria, or if it traveling too far up your foot or leg, an IV antibiotic in the hospital.  If the bacterial infection is bad enough, it may even affect your blood and you may have other symptoms such as a fever or chills.  Sometimes in the rare worst cases, surgical intervention is needed to drain any puss pocket.  In these instances, there is such a buildup of bacteria that just antibiotics will not get rid of it all; you may have to undergo a surgical procedure where the puss pocket is identified and drained.  This may cause an open wound and possibly stiches in your foot, and may take several weeks to heal depending on the severity. 

 So if you have a simple case of athlete's foot, you should have it treated swiftly.  You don't want to be uncomfortable, you don't want it to spread, but most importantly, you don't want it to be the cause of an even worse bacterial infection.  If you have an questions regarding the skin on your feet, give our office a call and one of our doctors will be able to see you and give you an accurate diagnosis and come up with a thorough treatment plan.  Don't wait and take the chance it may become worse!  Give our office a call today.