3 Great Tips for Preventing Athlete’s Foot

athlete's foot, Dr. Stephen G. Eichelsdorfer, Town Center Foot & Ankle

Whether you’re an athlete or not, chances are that you or someone in your family has had an episode of athlete’s foot, also called tinea pedis. It’s a common and contagious fungal infection that affects up to 15% of the US population.

While it’s not a serious condition, it can be extremely uncomfortable and make walking difficult. Fortunately, it’s simple to treat and also to prevent.

What causes athlete’s foot?

In spite of its name, athlete's foot doesn’t just target athletes — you don’t have to be an athlete or play sports to get athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot thrives in warm, damp, and humid places. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot grows in, for example, warm, sweaty socks and sneakers. It also lurks in public showers, bathroom floors, swimming pools, and locker rooms.

Signs of athlete’s foot

Symptoms of athlete’s foot are simple to spot. Usually, the infection starts between your toes. It can spread out to the front or back of your foot and your toes and toenails. Signs include red, flaky blotches that are usually itchy, dry, and cracked. Sometimes this rash-like infection can thicken and swell.  In some cases, blisters form.

Great tips to prevent athlete’s foot

There are many simple ways to prevent athlete’s foot. But you need to be diligent about always following them to prevent an infection from forming or returning. Tips include:

Wear sandals in public places

If you wear flip-flops or other protective shoes in the shower, after swimming, or while walking around in a locker room or public bathroom, you can protect yourself from catching athlete’s foot. Because athlete’s foot is contagious, high-trafficked public places that are often damp are popular places for athlete’s foot to develop and spread.

Wash and dry your feet every day

We often forget our feet when washing. Make sure you use soap when washing your feet, especially between your toes, where germs and fungi like to settle. And don’t forget to dry your feet and between your toes to discourage fungus growth.

Air out your feet and shoes

When not in public places, give your feet and shoes time to air-dry, especially after playing or practicing sports. When you get home after a game, take off your shoes and socks and let them and your feet get fresh air. If you play sports frequently, consider getting two pairs of shoes so that you can alternate one pair while the other dries out.  And don’t forget to wash those socks and change them every time you leave the house.

How to treat athlete’s foot

Depending on the frequency and severity of your athlete’s foot, Dr. Stephen G. Eichelsdorfer at Town Center Foot & Ankle recommends a personalized treatment plan for you to eliminate your athlete’s foot infection. Treatment options include over-the-counter or prescription antifungal medications, lotions, powders, or sprays.

Following the prevention tips listed above will also help your athlete’s foot disappear.

For more information on how to prevent and treat athlete’s foot, call us at Town Center Foot & Ankle with offices in Kingwood and Atascocita, Texas, or make an appointment online.

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