Athlete’s foot (Tenia pedis) is a chronic fungal infection that can irritate the skin of the feet. Most of the time the infection starts between the toes, but can quickly spread to the tops, sides, and even arches of your feet.
Although there a few different types of the infection, common symptoms include red, scaly rashes that itch and sting, especially when taking off your socks and shoes. Severe athlete’s foot can even cause blisters, cracked skin, and ulcers, which can be very dangerous for people with diabetes.
The same fungus that causes athlete’s foot can also spread to other areas of the body and cause fungal toenails, ringworm, and jock itch.
What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
The main cause of athlete’s foot is wearing damp, sweaty, and tight-fitting socks and shoes. This warm, dark, and moist environment is the ideal environment for all types of fungi that can cause athlete’s foot.
The fungi can also spread through contact with infected surfaces. Walking barefoot in public facilities such as showers, pool decks, or swimming pools puts you at higher risk of contracting athlete’s foot. Sharing linens, towels, shoes, and clothes can also spread the fungus.
Tips to Help Prevent Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is easy to prevent by practicing good foot hygiene. You can prevent fungal infections by practicing the following:
- Wash your feet daily with soap and water then dry carefully, especially between the toes
- Avoid walking barefoot
- Use shower shoes or flip flops in public showers
- Use talcum powder or foot deodorant to reduce perspiration
- Wear breathable shoes
- Change shoes and socks regularly to decrease moisture
- Wear moisture wicking socks and change them frequently if you perspire heavily
The Transmission of Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is contagious and can spread through direct or indirect contact. You can contract the fungal infection by contact with contaminated items such as clothes, towels, socks, shoes, rugs, etc., and direct contact with surfaces such as bathrooms, showers, or locker room floors. One way to contract athlete’s foot is to get an infection somewhere else on the body and then it may spread by touching or scratching the affected area causing it to spread.
Treating Athlete’s Foot at Home
Fortunately, most cases of athlete’s foot can be resolved through a combination of topical medications and good hygiene.
Non-prescription topical antifungals are widely available in most pharmacies. Make sure you follow the full treatment course as directed—usually daily or twice daily for 30 days— even if symptoms clear up earlier.
At the same time, develop good foot hygiene habits:
- Wash your feet every day with mild soap and water.
- Keep feet dry by wearing well ventilated socks and shoes, going barefoot at home (if it is safe for you to do so), and always drying feet thoroughly after bathing.
- Change socks regularly—at least daily, or more often if your feet get sweaty.
- Rotate shoes so you aren’t wearing the same pair two days in a row.
- Avoid going barefoot in public locations.
- Avoid sharing clothes, shoes, or linens with others
Professional Care for Athlete’s Foot
Seek professional help from foot specialist Dr. Lisa Brandy if any of the following are true:
- Home treatments haven’t been able to cure your athlete’s foot.
- Your athlete’s foot is severe and causing blistering, cracked skin, or ulcers.
- Your athlete’s foot keeps coming back after you treat it.
- You have diabetes.
Since there are other conditions that can produce similar symptoms to athlete’s foot, we may perform a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Severe athlete’s foot may require prescription strength antifungal medications, including pills that you take by mouth. We may also evaluate your shoe gear or make other recommendations about how you can improve your foot care habits and prevent athlete’s foot in the future.
If your athlete’s foot needs professional care, please call Trinity Foot Center today at (972) 293-9650.
|Monday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Tuesday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Wednesday||8:00am - 4:30pm|
|Thursday||8:00am - 5:30pm|
|Friday||8:00am - Noon|
p. (972) 293-9650
f. (972) 291-2533
1801 N. Hampton Road
DeSoto, TX 75115