Athlete’s foot stinks, literally. Read on for a quick walk-through to know the causes, symptoms, and treatments, plus what you can do to prevent from getting infected in the South’s hot and humid weather.
What Is It?
According to the Mayo Clinic, Athlete’s Foot is a fungal infection that occurs when feet have become very sweaty while confined in tightfitting shoes. It usually starts between the toes but can spread to other areas of the feet.
Athlete’s foot lives in the warm, humid environment inside a person’s socks or shoes –– a spot that’s perfect for fungal growth. It can be spread by contact with an infected person or through contaminated surfaces such as towels, floors, and shoes. You’re at a higher risk of getting athlete’s foot if you walk barefoot in public areas where the environment is damp, places like locker rooms, saunas, swimming pools, and showers.
The infection can be present on just one foot or affect both feet. It can also spread to your hand if you pick or scratch the infected area.
- Scaly, red rash
- Stinging, itching, and burning sensations
- Inflammation or swelling
- Chronic dryness
- Scaling on the soles of your feet that extends up the side of the foot
Visit a podiatrist to determine if a fungus is the source of the problem –– usually, antifungal medication will be prescribed if that’s the case. If the infection is caused by bacteria instead of fungi, antibiotics will be an effective treatment.
Practicing good podiatric hygiene is the easiest way to prevent Athlete’s Foot. The American Podiatric Medical Association suggests to:
- Thoroughly wash your feet every day and dry them carefully, especially between the toes
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places, especially in pool and gym showers
- Keep your feet dry by using foot powder in your shoes and socks
- Change your shoes and socks regularly
- Wear light, well-ventilated shoes
- Alternate pairs of shoes throughout the week
- Don’t share shoes with others
As fall sports start back up with daily practices and sweaty uniforms, keep these tips in mind! If your child is starting college and living in a communal space, be sure to include shower shoes in their back-to-school checklist.
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