If you’ve ever stepped barefoot into a locker room, swimming pool area, or public shower, you’ve put yourself at risk for athlete’s foot. This pesky foot condition forms when fungus burrows between your toes and onto the soles of your feet. All of these warm, moist environments provide the perfect conditions for fungi to grow and transfer onto you! 

Athlete's foot lives in warm, moist environments.  How You Know the Fungus has Won  

In result, the skin on your soles and the sides of your feet becomes dry and scaly. You might find some rash between your toes. In some cases, you may have blisters that crack, break, and expose raw skin, which can create pain and swelling.

Another telltale symptom is itchiness on your soles, between your toes, on your heels, and basically anywhere on your foot where the skin disease has reached. The itching and burning may progress as the condition spreads.

When your skin starts to show these visible symptoms, you likely have athlete’s foot. The term was coined because athletes often use these type of fungus-growing facilities, but jocks aren’t the only ones who can get itchy, scaly feet. Your shoes also play a big part in the development.

If you keep your feet inside shoes that are continually moist, dark, and damp, you’re at a greater risk for growing these microscopic fungi, the same type that create jock itch and ringworm. In fact, the condition decides to attack the feet most often because shoes provide the perfect environment for fungus growth.    

Know that the symptoms of this skin disease are also some indicators of other conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and allergic reactions to the dyes, fabrics, and glue used to create your shoe. It’s best to consult with McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group to figure out the exact cause of the problem.

What We Can Do To Help Your Itching Feet

Once we make a diagnosis, we might recommend that you apply a topical antifungal treatment. These treatments come in the form of lotions, sprays, ointments, or powders. We may also recommend an oral antifungal medication, depending on how much your condition has progressed. During this treatment, you should be practicing proper prevention methods to get rid of the symptoms and clear your feet up.

Follow the Do’s and Don’ts of Fungi Prevention

To keep fungus away, stay out of damp socks and shoes that you have to cram your feet into. Don’t walk barefoot in public showers, locker rooms, swimming pool areas, or saunas. If you know someone who has a fungal foot infection, don’t share rugs, bath mats, bed sheets, or shoes with them. Practice these do’s to prevent this skin disease:

  • Wear shoes that let your feet breathe.
  • Rotate the pair of shoes you wear every day.
  • Wash your feet once a day and keep them dry.
  • Sprinkle your feet with an antifungal powder to reduce moisture.
  • Replace damp shoes and socks as soon as possible.

Athlete’s foot is contagious and easy to spread, but it’s also easy to treat. If washing, drying, and changing shoes hasn’t helped your problem, contact Dr. Brian McDowell and Dr. Gavin P. Ripp at the McDowell Orthopedics & Podiatry Group by calling (916) 961-3434. You can find our office in Carmichael, CA, but we also serve the greater Sacramento area!

Photo Credit: CC0 Public Domain

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