Athlete's Foot: Methods of Prevention

Do your feet itch between your toes? Do the soles of your feet burn? Are the bottoms or sides of your feet dry? Do your feet smell? You may have athlete's foot, a type of fungal infection. If so, get treatment before the condition becomes worse. Once the condition is gone, take action to prevent it from returning.


Causes

You can get athlete's foot from walking barefoot in moist public places where there's a lot of foot travel. If you walk barefoot on swimming pool decks, in locker rooms, in showers, or on floors of nail salons, you're at risk. You can get athlete's foot from contaminated socks and clothing. The condition is contagious, so if someone at your gym or fitness center or someone in your home has the condition, you should watch for symptoms. Other causes of athlete's foot include contact dermatitis and a bacterial infection.


Symptoms

Early signs of athlete's foot are breaks or slits between your toes. The area between your toes or the soles of your feet will itch, sting or burn. You may have dry skin on the bottoms or sides of your feet. The skin on your feet may peel. In severe cases, you may experience cracking, pain, and bleeding. On occasion, you may develop blisters. Your feet may ooze pus and have a bad odor. Untreated athlete's foot can spread to other parts of your body—your legs, toenails, hands, and fingernails. It can also spread to other members of your family.


Prevention

How can you prevent athlete's foot?

  • Wear flip-flops, sandals, or shower shoes around moist areas like pool decks, gyms, showers, locker rooms, or nail salons. Wear flip-flops or shower shoes even while taking a shower in a gym.
  • Keep your feet dry. The fungus causing athlete's foot thrives in warm, moist areas like a wet sock or shoe.
  • Wash your feet every day with soap.
  • Dry your feet, including between your toes, before putting on socks or shoes. Stand on a towel to make sure the bottoms of your feet are dry.
  • Use an antifungal powder on your feet.
  • Wear socks made of natural fabrics or fabrics that dry fast. Heavy socks trap moisture.
  • Wear socks with fabric that wick moisture from the skin.
  • Change socks each day.
  • If your socks get wet from sweat, change them immediately.
  • Wash socks with a disinfectant.
  • Wear flip-flops or sandals in hot weather. Shoes made from synthetic materials, like rubber, cause sweating and can make your feet moist.
  • Don't wear the same running shoes every day.
  • Let your shoes air out before wearing them again.
  • Disinfect your shoes.
  • Sprinkle antifungal powder in your shoes.
  • Don't share towels, linens, or shoes.
  • Wear shoes in areas where an infected person has been.
  • Give your feet air. Go barefoot or wear sandals when you are at home.
  • If your athlete's foot is not improving or worsening, call a foot doctor.


Treatment

If you have a mild case of athlete's foot, wash your feet regularly, dry them thoroughly, and apply an anti-fungal cream to the affected area. You can treat the condition with over-the-counter antifungal medications. If your condition doesn't improve in a couple of weeks, contact a foot specialist in Conroe, TX. Call the doctor immediately if you experience severe symptoms, like blistering, or if you are a diabetic or have circulatory problems.


If you suffer from athlete's foot or other foot ailments, call for an appointment with Ankle & Foot Specialists of Conroe.