If you have athlete’s foot, it’s going to take just about every opportunity it has to remind you it’s there. It certainly has the means to do so. Symptoms tend to appear between the toes or around the soles of the feet, and can include:
- Stinging or burning pain
- Raw, cracking, and/or peeling skin
- Dry skin
- Toenails that become thick, crumbly, and/or push away from the nail bed
The pain can flare up while you try to be active, and the itchiness can drive you bonkers – especially once you take your socks off and expose your toes to the open air!
Athlete’s foot is a very aggravating skin condition, but one that responds to good treatment. If you have a case of athlete’s foot that is extremely painful, has lasted more than a few days without improvement, or is just something you don’t want to mess with, we are more than happy to help you. Contact us and take the first step toward professional treatment.
How Did I Get Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the skin.
Like most types of fungus, this brand thrives in areas that have moisture, warmth, and low light. Environments such as locker rooms, showers, and public pools pose a higher risk of picking up an infection, largely thanks to all the barefoot traffic they tend to receive.
However, something much closer to home can harbor athlete’s foot fungus as well: your shoes.
Closed-toed shoes that are stuffy and that your feet sweat in a lot can be prime real estate for tinea pedis fungus. The longer your shoes stay damp, the more they love it.
It is also worth keeping in mind that the same type of fungus that causes athlete’s foot can also cause fungal toenail infections. It is not uncommon for the fungus to start in the skin and spread to the nails, or vice versa.
How Do I Treat Athlete’s Foot?
The good news is that many cases of athlete’s foot respond well to over-the-counter medications. These most often take the form of topical antifungals that are directly applied to the skin.
However, some cases of athlete’s foot are more severe. While you can call us for any case of athlete’s foot, we highly recommend reaching out to us if:
- Your case does not respond to a couple days of over-the-counter treatment.
- Pain and symptoms are significantly impacting your daily life.
- You have excessive blisters and rawness, increasing your risk of bacterial infection.
- It appears you might already have a bacterial infection (your foot might be swollen, hot to the touch, severely painful, and/or discharging pus).
- You have diabetes, poor circulation, or a related condition that leaves your feet more vulnerable to complications.
We have access to more advanced prescription medications that may better suit your needs. This includes both topical medications to attack the fungus from the outside and oral antifungals to attack from the inside.
We might also prescribe antibiotics if the risk of bacterial infection through open skin is a concern.
Try to avoid touching your feet as much as possible while you have athlete’s foot, as the disease can spread to the hands. If you do have to touch it (and let’s admit, it’s very hard not to), make sure to wash your hands thoroughly as soon as possible afterward.
If the fungal infection has spread to your toenails, it can be much more challenging to eliminate the fungus there than it is on your skin, largely due to how the fungus can set up defensively beneath the surface of the nail.
How Do I Prevent Athlete’s Foot (or Keep it From Coming Back)?
There are plenty of simple steps you can take to help safeguard your feet against athlete’s foot. Most of them deal with reducing exposure and creating less appealing environments for the fungus to thrive in.
Here are just a few tips:
- Wear socks made of fibers that allow more air circulation and keep moisture away from the feet. Wool and certain synthetic fibers are good choices. Wear shoes that allow more open circulation to your feet as well (although this might not be possible with some jobs).
- If your feet sweat excessively, change into a fresh pair of socks midway through the day to help keep things drier. And if your sweating is abnormally excessive, see us about that. We may be able to help.
- Switch between different pairs of shoes, giving each pair 24 hours to dry after wearing them. Boot dryers can help, and a dash of antifungal powder doesn’t hurt either. Don’t load your shoes with powder, though – that can affect how your foot slides around in your footwear and lead to other problems.
- Wear shower shoes in locker rooms, public showers, and other areas with increased risk of athlete’s foot. Sandals are not as protective, but still better than nothing.
- Do not share socks, shoes, towels, or nail clippers with anyone. And when you wash towels, socks, bedding, and other fabrics that get a lot of foot exposure, use hot water.
- Wash your feet with soap and water every day. Pat dry thoroughly afterward, and don’t forget between your toes!
If you have recently recovered from athlete’s foot, your risk of contracting it again can be higher. We can discuss further tips with you on how to protect yourself, if necessary.
Put Out the Fire in Your Feet
If athlete’s foot – or any other foot or ankle condition – is making it miserable to do the things you love, we are here to help with swift, professional treatment.
Call our Berkley office at (510) 647-3744 to schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to hear from you!