Some people live with athlete’s foot, and many other conditions they find embarrassing, for years before they get help. But, remember podiatrists see these problems on a daily basis! While you may feel self-conscious about it, we understand it’s a natural problem many people face.
Athlete’s foot is actually a fungus. You can get it from anywhere you walk. That could be a public or workplace shower, the local gym, or even your own socks.
It causes cracked and scaling skin on your feet, gets itchy and irritating, becomes red, can lead to blisters, and sometimes may indicate fungal infections on other areas of your body.
Athlete’s foot can actually become much more painful. It can lead to your skin feeling raw, thick and discolored toenails, and in some cases, toenails that pull away from their nail beds. Your feet can even become infected with cellulitis, which causes your feet to swell.
Athlete’s foot seems like a trivial infection, but it can be quite painful if you leave it untreated.
How Do You Treat Athlete’s Foot?
As embarrassed about this condition as you might feel, treatment is easy, quick, and generally has a high rate of success.
Over-the-counter fungal creams applied for 1-4 weeks usually work. Air your feet out as much as you can, but don’t walk barefoot.
Avoid sweating, and that includes if you’re an athlete. Fortunately, you can still get your exercise or participate in your sport. Apply antifungal powder before you put your socks on. Take extra pairs of socks with you so you don’t sit in wet and sweaty socks. Wash your feet with soap and water thoroughly after exercise. Change your socks at least daily, even if you don’t break a sweat.
This may sound a bit odd at first, but you do want to walk around barefoot around home. That keeps your feet ventilated and dry (Athlete’s foot fungus loves moisture). Just make sure you have a pair of sandals on so you’re not spreading the fungus all over. Disinfect your sandals nightly after each use.
To prevent getting athlete’s foot again, bleach your socks and the bottom of your shower and bath tub at least weekly. Athlete’s foot is easy to treat, but it’s difficult to stop it from happening again.
If you have a family member with athlete’s foot, encourage them to get treated immediately so they don’t pass it on to you.
Don’t Let Athlete’s Foot Be Any Worse Than It Is
The key to success is taking action, seeking treatment, and then taking preventative measures. Swallow your pride and discuss Athlete’s foot with your podiatrist so you can get the relief you need, and prevent yourself from spreading it to others in your family.