Athlete’s foot is an infection caused by the tinea fungus that develops primarily on the feet. The condition is called athlete’s foot because it is very common in athletes, whose feet are often encased in warm, sweaty socks, which create the perfect environment for fungus to thrive.
Athlete’s foot infections sometimes are difficult to cure, but aren’t dangerous. The infection is contagious. So in addition to your own comfort, getting treatment prevents it from spreading to your family and teammates. The fungus also can spread to your toenails
Athlete’s foot symptoms include:
Athlete’s foot is caused by the tinea fungus. However, you pick up the fungus from touching someone else’s feet or by coming into contact with the fungus on a shared surface. The tinea fungus can live on warm, wet surfaces like those found in public pools and shared showers.
Once you’ve contracted the infection, wearing constricting socks and shoes that don’t allow moisture to wick away from your skin creates an environment for the fungus to thrive. If you have a condition like diabetes or if your immune system is suppressed, you’re more likely to develop an infection.
Antifungal medication is the best treatment for athlete’s foot. If your infection is mild, Dr. Grogan often suggests over-the-counter antifungal medications like Lamisil®. However, if your infection is more severe and hasn’t responded to at-home treatment, he prescribes stronger antifungals or topical steroids. If you’ve developed blisters and raw, weeping skin, Dr. Grogan also prescribes oral antibiotics to fight any secondary infections.
You should treat your shoes with antifungal powders or sprays to prevent reinfection.
While athlete’s foot is prevalent, it is easy to prevent with some common sense measures. First of all, keep your feet clean and dry. If you are an athlete, change your socks before and after training and competition. You can use an antibacterial soap on your feet in the shower. If you use a shared shower, wear flip-flops or shower shoes to protect your feet.
Update your socks to pairs made of fabric that absorbs or wicks away sweat and moisture. Rotate your training shoes, allowing at least a day to pass for your shoes to dry between uses.
If you’re concerned about athlete’s foot, call Dr. Grogan’s office or make an appointment online today.