Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot is a fungal infection caused by dermatophytes, a parasite that lives on the skin and feeds on dead skin cells. All of us have dermatophytes, which are generally harmless; however, because dermatophytes love warm, moist places, you can break out with Athlete’s Foot if you commonly wear tight-fitting shoes that create excessive moisture between your toes. The dermatophytes also thrive when you wear damp socks, don’t dry your feet properly, and/or use towels or shoes of someone infected with athlete’s foot. While it is common knowledge that Athlete’s Foot can be spread by walking on common floors such as the showers at the club, it can also be spread from the carpeting in hotel rooms. Even luxury hotels can harbor athlete’s foot in the carpeting. Dr. Myers encourages his patients to be cautious when walking barefoot in public areas to stave off Athlete’s Foot.

How Do You Know If You Have Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s Foot is most commonly characterized as an itchy, red, scaling, highly sensitive rash. In between the toes, the skin reddens, but more commonly looks like furrows with chalky lines. While Athlete’s Foot is most commonly found between the toes, it can also form on the soles of the feet.

How Is Athlete’s Foot Treated?

In some cases, all that is needed is a topical medication to heal the condition. However, if the infection has advanced, Dr. Myers may prescribe an oral medication to better rid the skin of the fungus. Although there are many over-the-counter Athlete’s Foot creams, some work better depending on the pattern of your foot fungus. The prescription strength antifungals tend to work quicker and more efficiently to eradicate the problem.

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How Can I Avoid Athlete’s Foot?

  1. Dry thoroughly after baths, showers, or swimming.
  2. Change socks if they are wet from running, a hot day, etc.
  3. Avoid shoes made from synthetic materials. Sandals or leather shoes are preferred to avoid the moisture that can collect with shoes made from synthetic products.
  4. Powder your feet and the inside of your shoes with antifungal powder if you suspect you may have early-onset Athlete’s Foot.
  5. Be sure to wash your feet daily and dry thoroughly before putting on your socks and shoes. Use a separate towel to dry your feet if you have athlete’s foot, to avoid spreading it.
  6. Don’t share towels with anyone else.
  7. Choose cotton or wool socks over acrylic or polyester blends.

About

Dr. David Myers

Dr. David Myers is a board certified dermatologist and Fellow of the American Society for Mohs Surgery. His expertise and attention to detail make him a trusted doctor in his community.

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