Trust us: athlete’s foot is one condition you definitely want to avoid. If you’ve ever had it, you know what we mean.
Even a relatively mild case can be extremely aggravating, and even embarrassing. A dry, scaly, reddish rash develops, often along the tops of feet and between the toes. Your feet itch all day, but especially after you take your socks and shoes off when you get home. Your feet look gross, and you feel gross—and that’s just the basic case. More serious instances of athlete’s foot can cause blisters and open sores, and may spread to other areas of your body (including your toenails, groin, scalp, and more).
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that that feasts on the keratin in your skin, and lies in wait in dark, dank environments, ready to spread by contact. If you want to reduce your risk of picking up an infection this summer, be smart about your activities and hygiene:
- Wash your feet each day.
- Dry thoroughly after washing, especially between toes.
- Change your socks regularly, especially if you sweat a lot. This may mean more than once per day in some cases.
- Wear shoes made from breathable fabrics.
- Rotate between multiple pairs of shoes, switching pairs each day. This allows shoes to dry out before you use them again.
- If you have a history of athlete’s foot, use antifungal sprays or powder inside shoes or on feet regularly.
- If safe for you to do so (e.g., you don’t have diabetes or other concerns requiring shoes to be worn at all times), go shoeless or even barefoot at home to allow your feet to air out.
- Don’t go barefoot in public, especially shared facilities such as pool decks and showers. A pair of shower shoes or flip flops is a must.
- Don’t share towels, socks, or shoes with anyone else—especially if they have an existing fungal infection.
If you do get athlete’s foot, our recommendation is that you pick up an over-the-counter antifungal spray or cream and follow the treatment course on the box or tube. In most cases, this will solve the problem. However, sometimes the over-the-counter remedy isn’t strong enough and you need extra help.
If your situation is especially painful or doesn’t improve after a few weeks of treatment, give the Foot & Ankle Clinic of the Virginias a call at (800) 456-8637. We can offer both a professional evaluation and stronger remedies to help eliminate your fungal infection for good.