What Is Athlete’s Foot, What Causes the Fungal Infection, and Why Does It Occur Between the 3rd and 4th Toes?

Athlete’s foot, also known as ringworm of the foot, is a fungal infection of the skin that causes flaking, scaling, and sometimes severe itching of affected areas.

The Infection is commonly transmitted in moist areas where people walk barefoot, such as showers or bathhouses. It can also be transmitted by sharing footwear and even towels with an infected person.

There are many treatments for fungal skin infections, but please see your doctor.

The organism responsible for tinea, better known as ringworm, or athlete’s foot, does not have an intelligent territorial instinct that leads it to a predestined home.

Infections by the fungus responsible, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, begin in the space between the third and fourth toes because this location offers the ideal environment: a warm, dark, and moist collection of dead skin cells.

The outer edges of the human foot are relatively flexible, having joints capable of motion in three planes.

The spaces between all the other toes are therefore subject to a greater diversity of movement and forces, providing ventilation and the opportunity to slough off dead skin cells. Meanwhile, in the dark recesses between the less mobile third and fourth toes, a virtual agar plate awaits the arrival of T. mentagrophytes.

There are many unfortunate people who suffer from recurrent athlete’s foot only between their third and fourth toes.

All their other toes have a clear gap between them at their bases, but their third and fourth toes adjoin closely. This reduces the evaporation of moisture from this site, in turn creating a welcoming environment for fungus especially when they wear the same socks for 36 hours or more, yuck.

Often, some folks have no choice, and is usually the case when they have had to work all night and day on call at various occupations.

We can, however, prevent the return of athlete’s foot by placing cotton balls or gauze between your third and fourth toes. This helps keep the area dry and is much cheaper than anti-fungal creams.

Despite this being sound advice that makes a lot of sense, many spouses will think that this treatment is half-baked.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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