Tips for Preventing and Treating Athlete's Foot
Athlete’s foot can happen to anyone. Summer heat increases the risk for anyone who must wear hot enclosed shoes (construction workers, runners, base ball players, etc) or shares a shower with people who may have athletes foot (pool, gym, or even family members with athletes foot or nail fungus).
Athlete’s foot is an infection of the feet caused by fungus in the outer layer of the skin. The medical term is tinea pedis.
Athlete's foot is very contagious. It is easily passed through direct contact, or contact with items such as shoes and shower or pool surfaces.
The most common symptom of Athlete’s foot is red, itchy, cracked, flaking, peeling skin between the toes. Athlete’s foot fungus may involve both of your feet, just one foot or just a small part of your foot skin.
Seven tips to prevent Athlete’s foot:
- Wear sandals or flip-flops at a public shower or pool.
- Wash your feet and between your toes with soap every day.
- Dry your feet thoroughly, including between your toes after bathing or swimming.
- Always wear clean cotton socks in closed shoes to absorb sweat and that allow your feet to stay dry.
- Change your socks often to keep your feet dry. This should be done at least once a day.
- Dust your shoes with antifungal or drying powders (such as Zeasorb AF powder) if you are excessively susceptible to athlete’s foot, if you have excessively sweaty feet, or if you often wear hot enclosed shoes.
- Wear shoes that are well ventilated and, preferably, made of natural material such as leather. It may help to alternate shoes each day, so they can dry completely between wearings. Avoid plastic-lined shoes.
Three tips for treating Athlete’s Foot
- Apply over the counter antifungal cream with either terbinafine or clotrimazole twice a day for 2 months to treat an active infection even if it appears to be gone.
- Dust your shoes with antifungal powder (such as Zeasorb AF athlete’s foot powder) every time you wear them during the 2 month treatment phase and for 6 months after your feet are cured to prevent a recurrence. Discard shoes that are really old, worn out and that may harbor lots of fungal organisms.
- Disinfect your home shower during your treatment period by spraying or washing the floor with a dilute bleach solution made of 1 part bleach to 9 parts water.
Call your doctor right away if:
- You have diabetes and develop athlete's foot.
- Your foot is swollen and warm to the touch, especially if there are red streaks as these are signs of a possible bacterial infection. Other signs include pus or other discharge and fever.
- Your athlete's foot symptoms do not go away within one month of using self-care measures.