Athlete’s Foot: Not Only for Athletes!

Actually, no, we are not talking about the foot of an athlete. It’s not something you can train for. Instead, Athlete’s Foot (or tinea pedis) is a contagious fungal disease. Sorry, it’s not as glamorous as it may have sounded. In fact, the unattractive symptoms include a scaly rash that can itch, burn, and/or sting. It can also cause dry, peeling skin along the bottom of the feet and in between toes.

Why is it called Athlete’s Foot?

Most likely, it’s because of the fact that it’s a common infection among athletes who use communal showers and walk around locker rooms barefoot. The fungus grows well in warm, damp surfaces, such as locker room floors, community pool areas, and even towels that someone with the fungal infection may have used. It can get worse when the feet are sweaty in socks and confining shoes.

It’s closely related to ringworm and jock itch – the tinea fungus is what causes them all, and the name just differs depending on how/where it affects the person.

Prevention and Treatment

Athlete’s Foot can continue to come back, even with treatment. Depending on how long and how thoroughly you treat the fungus, it can continue to survive and re-infect your feet. It’s also contagious, so you should take steps to prevent infection.

Prevention technique includes the following: Wash your feet thoroughly every day. Rotate your shoes to dry them out, preventing fungal growth. Take care of cuts and scrapes as they can infect you through breaks in the skin and near your toenails. Once they get under toenails, you’ll have fungal toenails, which become thick and discolored. Use flip flops in communal areas (instead of going barefoot) and do not share shoes, clothes, or towels with anyone who might be infected.

Treatment includes: over-the-counter anti-fungal ointment, lotion, powder, or spray; laser treatment for fungal toenails; or prescription-strength anti-fungal medication (which may include oral medications).

As you can imagine, it’s not an infection only for athlete’s as the name might suggest. It can infect anyone, especially people with poor immune systems. Children are also susceptible, so take measures to help them prevent infection. Quick and proper treatment (even after you think the Athlete’s Foot is gone) will your family beat it. If over-the-counter medications are not working, or if the problem seems severe, make an appointment with us at PerfectFeetCare Podiatry Centers. Our podiatrists, Dr. Juliette Perez and Dr. Katherine Machado will find the right treatment for you. Call us at our Miami (305-225-4277) or Hialeah (305-246-7437) offices today!