Do Only Athletes Get Athlete’s Foot?

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Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a common fungal infection that grows on the skin of the foot especially between the toes. It’s a common misconception that athlete’s foot would only affect athletes. It’s true however, that athletes are more prone to athlete’s foot because they generally sweat more, wear closed-toe footwear for extensive periods and are exposed to the fungus found in showers and locker rooms. Yet anyone exposed to the fungus can get infected.

This itchy disorder affects anyone who regularly stays in moist or sweaty socks and shoes. The fungus thrives in warm, dark and moist settings which the footwear provides. The most common symptoms of athlete’s foot include flaky skin, itching, stinging and burning of the feet. It is best to address this disorder early to avoid any serious complications in the future.

Some key tips that can help you avoid this irritating problem are:

  1. Daily foot wash. A proper daily foot wash goes a long way in preventing athlete’s foot. It helps to prevent the sweat and bacteria from settling onto your foot.

  2. Keep your feet dry. Pay particular attention when drying your feet especially between the toes. Apply foot powder to keep your feet dry in case of excessive sweating.

  3. Wash and change socks regularly. This helps prevent the fungus build up from spreading. Wash your used socks on a regular basis and wear clean socks daily.

  4. Switch footwear. The bacterial infections require a warm, dark and moist setting to thrive, which is exactly what footwear provides. Always change your shoes from time to time so that they can breathe.

  5. Avoid going barefoot. Wear flip-flops when you are in public places like communal swimming pools, gyms and changing rooms etc.

  6. Use anti-fungal sprays or creams.  

  7. Avoid sharing socks and shoes. Athlete’s foot is a contagious disorder, which can spread via direct contact. The infection can pass onto anyone who comes in contact with anything used by the person who has athlete’s foot. It is best to avoid using someone else’s things such as socks, shoes, towels, and nail clippers.

If your athlete’s foot is not getting better or worsening, call Foot and Ankle Associates, LLP with offices in Newark and Greenville, DE and Kennett Square, Garnet Valley, West Grove, PA. Our podiatrist can help treat your itchy and burning feet.