What Is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is what the layperson calls tinea pedis, a fungal infection of the feet. This infection is commonly found in athletes and others who frequently wear damp socks and walk barefoot in public spaces, but everyone is susceptible…athletes, non-athletes, men, women, adults, kids, even the elderly.
How Can I Prevent Athlete’s Foot?
Tinea pedis thrives in warm, moist environments. The fungus is often found at the nail salon, on locker room floors, in showers and around swimming pools. You can contract it through direct contact with an infected person or by touching a contaminated surface.
Minimize your risk of an athlete’s foot infection by taking the following steps:
- Wash your hands often. Use warm water and plenty of soap. This is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself not only from athlete’s foot, but from all contagious illnesses.
- Refrain from sharing socks, shoes, or towels with others, even family members.
- Purchase a pair of inexpensive sandals and wear them when you find yourself in a public space where people commonly walk barefoot, such as locker rooms, showers, or swimming pools.
- Wear slippers in hotel rooms.
- If you don’t bathe or shower daily, take a few minutes to wash your feet and dry them well. Pay careful attention to the spaces between the toes.
- Change your socks daily and rotate your footwear to give your shoes time to dry out between use.
- If your feet tend to get sweaty, apply antifungal powder daily.
How Can I Spot Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s Foot has numerous symptoms. Inspect your feet often and be on the lookout for the following, especially between the toes or on the soles of the feet:
● cracking or peeling skin
● tiny, itchy blisters
● unusual dry skin
● red, raw skin
How Can I Treat My Athlete’s Foot?
In short: see a podiatrist as soon as possible. For most patients, athlete’s foot is merely inconvenient, although it can be challenging to cure for some. If you are living with diabetes or a compromised immune system, athlete’s foot can lead to more systemic infections and should be taken seriously.
Regardless of your health status, if you are concerned that you’ve picked up a case of tinea pedis, you should see James M. McKee, DPM, FACFAS to make sure that the infection doesn’t spread and that you pass it on. A simple exam can confirm your suspicion, although a lab test is occasionally necessary. Typically, a short course of treatment with antifungal cream or ointment is all that’s needed to clear up your infection, but oral medication may be necessary, depending on the severity of your infection.
Call us at 410-224-4448 or click here to schedule an appointment in our convenient office in Annapolis, MD. Dr. James M. McKee and the friendly staff of Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. are ready to take your call and help your feet feel and look their best.