When you are going for a swim at your local YMCA or using the gym locker room, you want to feel protected from sicknesses. One sickness that is especially prone to those areas is athlete’s foot. While athlete’s foot isn’t a fever or the flu, it can be just as contagious and uncomfortable.
What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that begins at the feet but can be transferred to hands and even the groin. Causes include:
- Walking in public places barefoot
- Wearing tight, closed-toe shoes
- An injury that is prone to infection
- Wet or sweaty feet
Athlete’s foot typically starts showing as a scaly rash between the toes. An important note is that athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread through contaminated floors, towels, clothing--including socks-- and even sheets or blankets.
Symptoms of Athlete's Foot
If you take off your sock and it feels wet while your foot feels itchy and dry, chances are you are experiencing athlete’s foot. Other symptoms include:
- Dry, peeling skin
- Cracked skin
If the athlete’s foot moves to your hands, nails, or groin, it is important to take treatment steps immediately.
Treatments for Athlete's Foot
If you aren’t positive that your symptoms are communicating that you have athlete’s foot or if you have a rash that hasn’t dispelled since self-treatment, visit your podiatrist. If you have diabetes and think you might have athlete’s foot, see your doctor right away.
To treat athlete’s foot at home, try soaking your feet in diluted vinegar, saltwater or Clorox to dry up blisters and relieve rashes. Tea tree oil has also helped to treat athlete’s foot, though you may want to ask your doctor first if this is right for you. Your doctor may also choose to prescribe a medication to you such as an antifungal medication. Some antifungal medication is taken orally or it can be applied to the site in the form of a cream or powder.
Preventing Athlete’s Foot
Avoiding a case of athlete’s foot can be as simple as keeping your feet dry. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- After showering or bathing, be sure to do a quick pat down with a towel to dry your feet and toes.
- If you shower in a public place like at a gym, be sure to wear shower shoes.
- Change your socks daily.
- Wearing well-ventilated shoes.
- Wear socks made from cotton or wool so your feet can properly breathe.
- When you are home, go barefoot and let your feet air out and dry.
Protect Your Feet
Though the name is misleading, athlete’s foot isn’t subject only to those who play sports. Everyone is at risk of developing athlete’s foot and therefore should be aware of the signs of symptoms so proper foot care can be taken. A podiatrist is the best doctor to visit for any questions about treatment or diagnosis.
If you are in the Idaho Falls area and think you may have athlete’s foot or are experiencing other uncomfortable symptoms in your feet, give our office a call today.