Athlete’s foot, also called tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that typically starts between the toes and spreads to other areas of the foot. It is called “athlete’s foot” because it usually occurs in people who wear tightly supportive shoes and whose feet sweat in them without air, thereby creating a suitable environment for fungal growth.
It is most commonly caused by ringworm and is closely related to jock itch. Damp socks or shoes and humid weather can cause these organisms to grow and multiply.
Athlete’s foot is also very contagious, so it can spread from one person to another when you come in contact with contaminated surfaces like floors, shoes, and socks. Although it can be treated with over-the-counter medicine, it is best to consult a foot doctor if it persists, becomes painful, or causes an infection.
Risk Factors of Athlete’s Foot
At one point in your life, you are likely to have experienced athlete’s foot. It is a common infection, and it is estimated that up to 15% of the population are affected, especially men, older people, and athletes. People are most at risk when they walk barefoot in communal areas like bathrooms, showers, locker rooms, spas, and saunas.
That is why foot and ankle doctors advise wearing flip-flops when using public showers, because athlete’s foot can be highly contagious. It also tends to spread to other parts of the body, like the hands, fingernails, and groin area, because the fungi can be transferred via towels and wet floors.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
So, how would you know if you have athlete’s foot? It usually starts with a red scaly rash in between your toes. It is particularly common in between your little toe and the toe next to it. It is very itchy, and it usually worsens after removing your shoes and socks.
There is also another type of athlete’s foot wherein patients notice blisters and ulcers in their foot. If symptoms persist after two weeks of using an anti-fungal treatment for athlete’s foot, it is best to see a podiatrist.
How Can An Athlete’s Foot Be Treated and Prevented?
There are several very effective over-the-counter medications that can treat mild cases of athlete’s foot. They include powders, sprays, and creams, and they are clearly labeled to treat athlete’s foot. However, if your condition doesn’t improve, it’s best to see a podiatrist for further evaluation and possibly prescription-strength treatment.
The best defense in avoiding athlete’s foot is by preventing it from occurring in the first place. Here are some important tips to help you avoid having that red, scaly itch in your feet:
- Avoid communal bathrooms and showers. If you must use a communal shower or bathroom, always wear flip-flops to protect your feet. Keep the flip-flops on during your entire shower and do not let your feet touch the wet floor.
- Dry your feet well, especially after exercising. The fungi that cause athlete’s foot thrive in warm, damp areas.
- Make sure that your shoes and socks are dry. If your shoes and socks got wet, make sure to remove them as soon as possible to avoid fungi from growing and multiplying.
- If you have already had athlete’s foot before, especially recently, it is best to use anti-fungal treatments on your feet to avoid recurrence.
Podiatry Specialists in South Texas
Want to have top-notch podiatrists in South Texas? You have come to the right place. The Podiatry Group of South Texas offers the most advanced podiatric healthcare and medical care for your feet.
Contact our team today by calling us at (210) 227-8700. Choose among our 14 locations of podiatrists in South Texas to get the immediate foot care you need. You may also fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get rid of athlete’s foot for a lifetime of healthy feet!