Athletes Foot, Jock Itch and Nail Fungus are all common conditions and all caused by fungi. Fungi are a kind of plant—mushrooms, mold, and mildew are examples of fungi. These organisms live in the air, in the dirt, on plants, in water, and even on the human body. Everybody has some fungi on them, but complications happen when too much of the organism is able to grow. Fungi thrive in moist, dark and warm places such as your feet or groin. In the case of Athletes Foot, or tinea pedis, fungus builds up in between your toes causing itchy, scaly skin. This build up can happen if you walk around barefoot in public places or have consistently damp or sweaty feet. You can avoid it by always wearing footwear in public, making sure your shoes allow your feet to get fresh air, and by always thoroughly drying your feet and toes.

Jock Itch is another common fungal problem, also called tinea cruris. It occurs on the inner thighs and groin and is typically more common in men than in women. This fungus causes an itchy, scaly rash that can be red or brown. Untreated, the rash will spread throughout this sensitive area, eventually causing painful blisters which may ooze. Scratching the rash can introduce bacteria into the skin, making the problem even worse and the blisters may also become infected. Keeping this area clean and dry is very important to avoid this condition.

Fungus can also build up under your nails resulting in Nail Fungus or tinea unguium. This causes extensive damage to the nail, making it thickened and brittle. It will also usually be discolored and become yellow black or green. Left untreated, the nail may completely break off of the toe or finger, the skin around the nail may become red and painful, and there can be a foul odor. The causes for Nail Fungus on the toenails is the same as for Athletes Foot, and in fact, untreated Athletes Foot can spread to the toenails. Nail Fungus is more common in people with poor immune systems, circulation problems, the elderly and diabetics. You may develop Nail Fungus on your fingernails if your hands are frequently wet or dirty. Thoroughly washing and drying your feet and hands is important to avoid this potentially embarrassing condition.

Each of these conditions can be diagnosed at ZipClinic with an inspection of the skin. Many skin conditions look very similar, so it’s important to get diagnosed by a professional. You may have tried over the counter medications such as powders or creams, but fungal infections can be difficult to treat completely. Many over the counter products ease the painful symptoms, but do not treat the problem. Some people repeatedly get Athletes Foot or Jock Itch for years and finally come into the clinic to get more permanent relief. Fungal infections can be difficult to treat because the fungal cells are very similar to regular human cells. This makes the list of possible medications very short and very specialized. If over the counter creams and powders do not relieve your symptoms, or if the infection has become severe or widespread, you will need to come in to ZipClinic and get a prescription medication. Most medications are by mouth, but the clinician may also prescribe a special cream or ointment to help. If a bacterial infection is also present, you may be prescribed antibiotics. In some cases, especially with nail fungus, treatment can last several months, so prompt treatment is important. If you suspect that you may have Athletes Foot, Jock Itch or a Nail Fungus, stop in to ZipClinic as soon as possible to get relief.

ZipClinic Urgent Care is located in Aurora, Westminster and Denver, Colorado; Bozeman and Belgrade, Montana; and Bowling Green, Kentucky and provides walk-in medical services for common medical conditions including flu and respiratory symptoms caused by virus, bacteria and seasonal allergies, skin conditions, and sprains/strains among others.