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Ditch the Itch: Must-Know Do’s and Don’ts for Preventing and Treating Athlete’s Foot
Are you planning on staying (or getting) in tip-top shape this year at the gym? While prioritizing your health and wellness is fantastic, it’s crucial to keep a few things in mind to prevent yourself from getting athlete’s foot!
A very common infection, athlete’s foot can affect anyone and everyone — even those who aren’t regular gym-goers! And while this fungal infection is usually harmless, it’s often irritating and bothersome.
Fortunately, athlete’s foot is entirely preventable by implementing a few key steps! And if you do manage to catch it, there are many effective treatment options available. Take a look at our guide below to learn the do’s and don’ts to prevent and treat athlete’s foot!
What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a common skin infection caused by fungus. It’s contagious and spreads between people through direct contact or contact with the same surface, such as shared gym shower floors.
The specific fungi that cause athlete’s foot are called dermatophytes. This fungi thrive in damp, moist environments, which is why you’ll most often find athlete’s foot in gym locker rooms, showers, and pools.
Additionally, gym-goers and athletes often have sweaty feet and use these facilities, hence the name “athlete’s foot.”
So what are the symptoms of athlete’s foot? This infection causes itchiness, redness, and even flaking skin on the feet and toes’ bottoms.
Additional symptoms may include:
- Dryness of the skin
- Red Rashes
- Bad Odor
- Sensitive foot
Do’s and Don’ts for Preventing Athlete’s Foot
As mentioned above, athlete’s foot can happen to anybody — not just hardcore athletes. Thankfully, this sometimes stubborn infection can be easily avoided by taking a few preventative steps.
DO Allow Your Feet to Breathe
When in hot temperatures or humid environments, wear breathable shoes that allow your feet to stay dry. Our recommendations are flip flops, sandals, or mesh shoes.
DON’T Walk Barefoot
When at the gym, in the locker rooms, washing off in the showers, or getting your swim on at the pool, don’t walk barefoot. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot may be on the floor, so it’s essential to cover your feet to prevent contracting it.
DO Keep Your Feet Nice and Dry
Athlete’s foot flourishes in warm, damp environments — like the feet. To keep it from growing, make sure to dry your feet after showering or bathing thoroughly.
DON’T Share Footwear
It’s imperative not to share footwear with other people, particularly with those who have or previously had athlete’s foot. Additionally, if you do get athlete’s foot, it’s crucial to wash your shoes to prevent the infection from showing up again.
DO Wear Breathable Fabrics
When choosing socks and footwear, opt for breathable materials and fabrics. This can include cotton and synthetic materials that wick away moisture and keep your feet dry, as well as breathable mesh.
Athlete’s Foot Treatment Options
For those with a minor case of athlete’s foot, OTC (over-the-counter) treatments may do the trick. However, if you have a more stubborn case, a prescription-strength medication might be necessary!
Over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for athlete’s foot are easy to find at your local drugstore or pharmacy. These typically come in the form of antifungal powders, sprays, ointments, and lotions. In most cases, athlete’s foot responds well to OTC treatments and doesn’t require additional treatment options.
If you think you have athlete’s foot and its symptoms haven’t subsided after a week or so after OTC treatment, it’s crucial you make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist as soon as possible. Untreated cases of athlete’s foot can sometimes turn into more severe infections, such as painful blistering. Thus, a prescription-based antifungal treatment (either oral or topical) is often needed to eliminate the fungal infection for good.
Find Treatment at the Cumberland Skin
If you have a stubborn case of athlete’s foot that won’t go away on its own or with OTC medications, get in touch with our experienced team of dermatologists today for a more effective antifungal treatment option! We’re here to help restore the health of your skin and feet by treating your athlete’s foot.
Cumberland Skin is ready to help you achieve healthy skin! If you’d like to visit with a dermatologist to develop an effective skincare routine or need help treating a skin infection, contact us today to learn more.