If you develop athlete’s foot, you are not alone. An estimated 70% of Americans will deal with the condition at some point in their lives. But you don’t need to be an athlete to get athlete’s foot. All you need is some warm, moist surfaces and lots of other bare feet walking on those surfaces to get this uncomfortable and contagious condition. The good news is that there are easy ways you can minimize your chances of athlete’s foot and effective treatments if you do.
Causes of Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot got its name because it was a common condition among athletes who share locker rooms and showers. Those environments, and other ones where people often walk around in bare feet on moist surfaces (think poolside), are fertile grounds for the development and spread of the fungus which is the culprit behind athlete’s foot.
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.
If you walk barefoot on a wet surface that someone with athlete’s foot has also walked on with their bare feet, you can easily contract the fungus. Athlete’s foot spreads through direct contact with the infection and by skin particles left on towels, shoes, or floors. As such, athlete’s foot is a contagious condition.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
Common symptoms of athlete’s foot include:
- Skin inflammation
- A white, scaly rash with a red base
- A slight odor
Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Fortunately, over-the-counter anti-fungal sprays and creams can help clear up most cases of athlete’s foot. In more severe cases, prescription anti-fungal medications prescriptions such as ketoconazole or sulconazole may be needed. If a secondary bacterial infection develops, an antibiotic may also be recommended. Your podiatrist can evaluate your condition and suggest the best course of treatment.
Athlete’s Foot Prevention
Dirty and moist environments are where athlete’s foot fungus and other fungi thrive. That’s why you want to minimize your contact with surfaces in such conditions as much as possible. Keep your feet clean, scrub them with soap and water when you shower, and make sure you thoroughly dry them off. Pay particular attention to the area between your toes.
If you do walk barefoot in a wet environment, such as poolside or in a locker room, be extra vigilant about getting that moisture off your feet as soon as you can. Better still, wear flip-flops or shower shoes in these areas to keep your feet from touching what is essentially a fungi playground. Additionally, do not share shoes or socks with others.
JAWSpodiatry: Hollywood, Florida Foot and Ankle Specialists
The experienced and skilled podiatrists at JAWSpodiatry in Hollywood, Florida can help you keep your feet healthy and get you back on your feet when problems arise. If you have athlete’s foot concerns or questions, please contact us today at (954) 922-7333 to schedule a consultation.