With the warm summer months also comes the time for sandals, flip-flops and other pool gear. What you don’t want, is to be dealing with athlete’s foot when trying to enjoy the summer fun. Dr. Brett Roeder, a podiatrist with Banner Health, shares with us some information on foot issues and ways to prevent them.
What is it?
Athlete’s foot is a fungus infection of the skin of the feet – not something you can only get as an athlete. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is caused by a variety of fungi and can be spread by skin contact with someone who is infected or in damp areas. These areas can include showers, pools, locker rooms, etc.
Athlete’s foot appears as cracking or peeling skin in between the toes or on the sole of the foot.
- Itching, stinging or burning
- Cracking, peeling and dry skin
- Raw skin
- Discolored and weak toenails
- Toenails that break away
- Ulcers/sores with fluid
Can I prevent it?
This is a condition that you can work to prevent. The main way you can prevent athlete’s foot is by practicing good hygiene when it comes to your feet.
Nails should be kept short to avoid housing the infection. Make sure they are clean and taken care of.
When it comes to public places, it is important to wear shoes in communal showers and locker rooms to avoid contact with the fungi.
Make sure you always give your feet some time to air out throughout the day, and do not share shoes, sock or towels with anyone.
How do I treat it?
Dr. Roeder gives us some tips on how to deal with athlete’s foot:
- Clean your feet daily with soap and water – do not soak for too long, however, because that can dry out the skin.
- If your feet sweat a lot, try an antiperspirant spray on them.
- If you are doing manual labor or similar work, change your socks once during the day.
- Avoid wearing the same shoes every day.
Luckily, there are some things you can try to tackle athlete’s foot at home.
Dr. Roeder suggests:
- Use topical antifungal creams from the drug store for your heels and arches.
- Use antifungal spray between your toes.
- Once the infection is resolved – use both for another 2-3 weeks.
If topical agents fail to resolve the issue, see a doctor for a skin or nail sample. Then, they can write you a prescription for an oral medication to help the tricky infection.
If the infection spreads to your toenails, contact a doctor right away. This makes it much more difficult to treat and would typically require aggressive treatment such as removing the nails.
To find a doctor near you, go to bannerhealth.com/physician-directory.