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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

THE OCCURRENCE OF ATHLETE’S FOOT (TINEA PEDIS), CAUSED BY THE DERMATOPHYTIC FUNGUS, TRICHOPHYTON RUBRUM MALMSTEN 1845, AMONGST ATHLETES AT BREWTON-PARKER COLLEGE

Abstract

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a common fungal infection, caused by Trichophyton rubrum Malmsten 1845, an anthropophilic dermatophyte that invades and multiplies within the skin, nails, and hair and grows preferentially on humans. Athletes are at a much higher risk of infection due to their environment: they wear tight fitting shoes and sweaty socks often. Walking barefoot in swimming pool areas, saunas, locker rooms, whirlpools, and bathrooms can also increase risk of contracting tinea pedis. An infection can be cured by a variety of antifungal foot creams, gel, sprays, and powders. This study investigated the occurrence of tinea pedis with associated T. rubrum growth and the efficiency of Tinactin®, also referred to as tolnaftate 1%, as a treatment aerosol liquid spray. The women’s and men’s soccer team, women’s softball team, and men’s baseball team at Brewton-Parker College participated in the study. A survey of 84 athletes indicated that 18% had previous athlete’s foot symptoms. Toenail clippings and skin scrapings were collected from 53 athletes. A KOH test was performed on the skin scrapings in order to identify the fungal hyphae microscopically. Toenails were inoculated on Sarbouraud agar plates and incubated at 28 °C for four days to confirm T. rubrum growth. Of these, 59% were infected with T. rubrum. An experimental treatment group of 10 athletes was chosen based upon plate growth to study the effectiveness of Tinactin® spray. After 28 days of daily treatment, toenail clippings were collected from these 10 athletes, and inoculated to see if T. rubrum growth was cured. Upon completion of the treatment phase, only 10% of the fungal infections were cured and showed negative growth for T. rubrum.

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