The term “athlete’s foot” can be very misleading. You don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from this condition. Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a common contagious fungal infection affecting the skin and nails of the feet, which cause itching and irritation.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection that is commonly contracted from having your feet wet for a prolonged period of time, as well as from an injury, wearing tight and poor insulated shoes, or using public showers when barefoot.
Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread by coming into contact with an infected person through sharing shoes, mats, towels and floors.
Risk Factors for Athlete’s Foot
You are at an increased risk of athlete’s foot if you’re:
- Wear damp socks or tight-fitting shoes
- Share mats, rugs, bed linens, clothes or shoes with someone who has an infection
- Walk barefoot in public areas, like locker rooms, saunas, swimming pools, and communal showers
- Have a weakened immune system
Symptoms of Athletes Foot
Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:
- Scaly red rash between the toes
- Itching, especially at night
- Blisters or ulcers
There are over-the-counter creams that can usually effectively treat and eliminate athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot will usually clear up within two weeks. You can also prevent the spread of athlete’s foot by wearing sandals in public locker rooms and around swimming areas. Maintain clean showers and floors at home where you frequently walk barefoot, or simply cover your feet with socks or shoes until the infection has dissipated. Be sure to keep your feet clean and dry if you choose to wear socks and shoes for long periods of time.
When to See a Podiatrist
If these treatments don’t work, or if you have increasing pain, fever, swelling of the foot, blisters or open sores, it’s time to seek treatment for a possible bacterial infection. A more aggressive course of treatment may be prescribed by a podiatrist. Click here to request an appointment today.