You don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from athlete’s foot. The infection is usually caused by a common fungus and is easily spread through contact with a person or object that has been contaminated.
Warm moist environments such as locker rooms, gyms, showers and hotel rooms are breeding grounds for athlete’s foot fungus. Some people are resistant to the fungi that cause athlete’s foot, while others may contract the condition by simply walking across a contaminated floor.
Also known as tinea pedis, athlete’s foot symptoms include a red, scaly, itchy rash that typically starts between the toes or on the sole of the foot. Oozing, weeping and blistering also occur with some types of athlete’s foot.
Mild cases of athlete’s foot can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal preparations in the form of ointments, lotions, powders and sprays. Treatment should be continued for a minimum of four weeks or for one week after the rash resolves.
It’s important to visit your dermatologist for stubborn foot infections that persist following treatment with non-prescription remedies. Some cases of athlete’s foot fungus require prescription strength medication and oral antifungal pills may even be ordered for severe infections.
If you are prone to athlete’s foot, prevention is the real goal. The following steps may reduce the risk of infection:
- Avoid going barefoot in areas prone to fungal growth such as showers and gyms
- Keep feet dry by wearing sandals and avoiding shoes made of synthetic materials
- Wash feet daily with soap and dry thoroughly
- Choose natural fiber socks and change socks daily or when they’re wet
- Rotate shoes daily; never wear the same pair two days in a row
- Avoid sharing shoes and towels with anyone who has athlete’s foot
- Disinfect footwear periodically with antifungal foot powder
Talk with your dermatologist about ways to reduce the risk of athlete’s foot and schedule an appointment for any rash that doesn’t improve or disappear within a reasonable length of time.