Just like you don’t have to be a tennis player to get tennis elbow, you don’t need to be an athlete to get athlete’s foot. All you need is some warm, moist conditions.. like trapping your wet feet in socks and shoes to develop this annoying, uncomfortable, and contagious condition. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize your chances of getting athlete’s foot and treat it if you do.
What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot got its name because it was common among athletes who share locker rooms and showers. Those environments, and similar ones such as poolsides where people often walk around in bare feet on moist surfaces, are fertile grounds for the development and spread of the fungus which causes athlete’s foot. However, it’s not just exposure that causes this condition, it happens when those bugs are permitted to multiply in their favorite condition, your warm, moist foot in an incubator (socks and shoes). Athlete’s foot fungus belongs to a group of fungi called dermatophytes, which also cause jock itch and ringworm. These fungi love closed, warm, moist environments and feed on keratin, a protein found in hair, nails, and skin.
Skin inflammation and a white, scaly rash with a red base are common athlete’s foot symptoms, as are itching, burning, peeling, and a slight odor.
How Athlete’s Foot Spreads.
If you walk on a wet surface that has been walked on by someone with athlete’s foot and then put your feet in shoes without properly cleaning and drying them, you can easily contract the fungus. So you could say that athlete’s foot is a contagious condition.
How to Avoid Athlete’s Foot.
Athlete’s foot and other fungi begin with a dirty and moist environment. Therefore, you want to minimize both of those factors as much as possible. It is OK to expose your bare skin to these conditions, but you must make sure your feet are clean by scrubbing them with soap and water when you shower and then thoroughly drying them off when you are done. Pay particular attention to the area between your toes.
When you are walking barefoot in wet environments, such as poolside or in a locker room, be extra sure to get that moisture off your feet. Additionally, do not share shoes or socks with others.
How to Treat Athlete’s Foot.
If you contract athlete’s foot, you are not alone. It is estimated that 70% of Americans will deal with the condition at some point in their lives. Fortunately, over-the-counter antifungal creams and sprays as seen in countless TV commercials can help clear up most cases. In more severe cases, oral anti-fungal prescriptions may be necessary, such as ketoconazole or sulconazole. If a secondary bacterial infection is present, an antibiotic should also be used. Your podiatrist can evaluate your condition and recommend the best course of treatment.
JAWS podiatry: Hollywood, Florida Foot and Ankle Specialists
The experienced and skilled podiatrists at JAWS podiatry in Hollywood, Florida can help you keep your feet healthy, and help you get back on your feet when problems arise. We are a growing group of exceptional professionals who offer the highest degree of care in a welcoming, comfortable environment. Please contact us today at (954) 922-7333 to schedule a consultation.