Whether you regularly give your feet a hard workout or just keep them comfortably elevated in “couch potato” mode, they’re susceptible to a common ailment—athlete’s foot. Here are some tips on how to defend against this unwelcome condition.
What is athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is a skin infection caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes or on the soles of the feet. The fungus most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment, which encourages fungus growth. The warmth and dampness of areas around swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms are also breeding grounds for fungi, however, anyone, regardless of their exercise level, can contract athlete’s foot.
You may notice one or more of the following: dry skin, itching, scaling, inflammation, and blisters. When blisters break, small, raw areas of tissue are exposed, causing pain and swelling. Itching and burning may increase as the infection spreads.
How to reduce your risk
- Wash feet daily with soap and water. Dry carefully, especially between the toes.
- Avoid walking barefoot.
- Use shower shoes in public areas
- Alternate shoes on a daily basis to help them dry out. Wear socks that keep feet dry and wick away moisture.
- Reduce perspiration by using a good foot powder. In cases of very sweaty feet, an anti-perspirant will help slow down moisture buildup during the day.
- Ask your podiatrist about Sterishoe. This device can be used to destroy all organisms in the shoes.
Schedule a visit to your PRO Medical Podiatrist, who can evaluate the infection. This will result in a much better outcome than most over-the-counter treatments. The podiatrist will first determine if a fungus is the cause of the problem. If it is, a specific treatment plan, including the prescription of antifungal medication, applied topically or taken orally, may be suggested. If the infection is caused by bacteria, then antibiotics appropriately targeted against the bacteria may be prescribed. In most cases, the podiatrist can work with you to resolve the issue in just a few visits.
By J. Mari Adad, DPM, PRO Medical Podiatry