Athlete's foot is a widespread disease - it is estimated that every fifth German shares stocking and shoe with the athlete's foot Trichophyton rubrum. Once this extremely resistant fungus has nested in its skin and nails, it will be difficult to get rid of.
What is athlete's foot?
Swimming pools, changing rooms, hotel carpets - public places visited by many people are strongholds for mushroom cultures. These are especially fond of wet, warm places and are already being spread through tiny dander. Although they do not like being too hot, they also know how to help themselves: in the form of spores, for example, they wait for better living conditions on sauna benches.
There is talk of dermatophytes - fungi that infest the skin and its appendages, ie hair and nails, and can cause illness there. For the fungal infection between the toes, on the soles of the feet and the nails, especially representatives of the species Trichophyton are responsible.
Causes of athlete's foot
You can hardly avoid the pathogens - almost everywhere you can find the mushrooms themselves or their permanent forms, the spores. It is particularly common to be infected with barefoot running in places where mushrooms feel good because of the climate and many people walk without shoes: swimming pool, sauna, (hotel) shower. Particularly spicy: reservoirs for the microorganisms are also foot disinfection systems as they are found everywhere in swimming pools and saunas.
But even when sharing shoes, unwelcome roommates can change their location at the same time. In the past, the Bundeswehr's athlete's foot was far more common than it is today - new recruits received boots that had already been worn by others. Since new shoes have been allocated, the rate of infection has been declining.
Although not everyone makes contact with the disease, constantly stressed skin (for example due to heavy sweating) can give fungi the opportunity to multiply. Especially when your feet are stuck in badly ventilated shoes for long periods, the moisture swells between the toes and thus provides a portal of entry for the athlete's foot.
Endangered professions and groups of people
The above-mentioned fact also touches the English name "Athlete's Foot" - after all, just sportsmen often wear longer sweaty gymnastic or ski boots. But construction workers, sewer workers or miners are particularly vulnerable. Particularly critical are small wounds, a weakened immune system or circulatory disorders. For example, diabetics suffer from athlete's foot more frequently than the average population.