Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)
Athlete’s foot can occur in adults and children alike and is not reserved for athletes alone. Anyone can contract athlete’s foot, but there are ways to prevent it from happening as well as treatments to reverse it.
Home treatment with over-the-counter medications can sometimes be enough to take care of this itchy, painful problem. But if you have a case that is proving stubborn, especially painful, or problematic in any other way, Advanced Ankle & Foot is more than happy to help you find the relief you need.
What are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?
A case of athlete’s foot will typically start between or around the toes, but can also be found throughout the foot and even on other parts of your body. The symptoms of athlete’s foot are generally very difficult to ignore. They include:
- Extreme itchiness, which is often worse after removing shoes and socks.
- A red, scaly rash and/or peeling skin.
- Burning and/or stinging in addition to the itchiness.
Certain severe cases of athlete’s foot might be accompanied by blisters or sores. These symptoms are not common but are always worth seeking professional care for if you have them.
Another type of athlete’s foot is often referred to as the “moccasin” variety, due to the way it causes dryness and scaling along the bottom and sides of the feet. This form of athlete’s foot tends to cause less bothersome symptoms but also be longer lasting, increasing the risk of spread.
What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus called tinea — the same fungus that causes ringworm and can cause some forms of nail fungus. Tinea thrives in moist, damp conditions, so sweaty shoes and socks are a favorable environment for it.
Tinea is also spread upon contact with infected skin, so athlete’s foot is very contagious and can be easily spread to others. The infection can also easily spread to your hands, so try to avoid direct contact with any athlete’s foot as best as possible and wash your hands thoroughly immediately if you do.
Treating Athlete’s Foot
There are several anti-fungal over-the-counter treatments for athlete’s foot, and any one of them can help you to find relief. The main objective to remember is that your feet are dry before applying, as well as after regular washing.
When to See Us for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
You never have to hesitate to contact us for any foot or ankle condition you have, no matter how mild it might first seem. That includes any cases of athlete’s foot. If your athlete’s foot is becoming complicated and/or not responding well to treatment, we can help. You should come to see us if:
- Your athlete’s foot isn’t improving after 2 weeks of home care.
- You have diabetes, poor circulation, or other conditions that risk foot complications and infections.
- You’re in severe pain or having trouble functioning
- Your athlete’s foot is recurring (even with preventative measures)
If your case of athlete’s foot has not been responding to over-the-counter medications, we may need to take a closer look at your condition. You might require a stronger prescription medication. These come in the form of topical medications like those at the pharmacy, but we might prescribe oral anti-fungal medications in severe cases.
If athlete’s foot regularly returns, we may need to examine your medical history and habits more closely. Something may be present that increases your risk of contracting the fungus.
Preventing Athlete’s Foot
Removing sweaty shoes and socks as soon as possible and washing/drying feet will help to prevent further flare-ups of athlete’s foot, as will going barefoot whenever possible (to allow air to access the feet). Keeping feet clean and dry is the best course of action as dry conditions prevent the growth of the fungal bacteria that causes athlete’s foot, so this is an easy way to avoid it.
Other steps you can follow that can effectively reduce your risk for athlete’s foot include:
- Never sharing your socks, shoes, or other footwear with anyone.
- Keeping your feet covered with water shoes, shower shoes, or sandals in any high-traffic areas where fungus can thrive, such as public showers and locker rooms.
- Drying your feet well after showering and swimming, being especially mindful of keeping moisture out from between your toes.
- Changing out of wet socks and shoes as soon as you can, including socks soaked from sweat.
- Give shoes at least 24 hours to air dry before wearing them again.
We can help you determine additional steps you can take that may be more specific to your situation.
Find the Skin and Nail Care You Need
Healthy skin and nails are more than superficial. Your comfort and wide-ranging health can also depend on what’s happening at foot level.
If you have athlete’s foot, fungal toenails, plantar warts, ingrown toenails, or other conditions that aren’t responding to home care, we can help. Schedule an appointment with Advanced Ankle & Foot by giving us a call or filling out our online contact form.