Athlete’s foot is a prevalent foot infection spread by a fungus called tinea pedis and thrives in warm, wet environments. Because athletes often spend a lot of time in these environments, that’s the origin of the infection’s name.
But if you catch a case of athlete’s foot, you may find it hard to get rid of it. Or once you do get rid of it, you may find that it comes back again. The providers at Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine explain more about what causes athlete’s foot and how you can prevent it for good.
What causes athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus called tinea pedis. But it’s incredibly contagious and spreads very easily. You can contract it by sharing towels with an infected person. Another way that you can contract it is by directly coming into contact with it, such as in public showers or around swimming pools.
The symptoms of athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot is also closely related to jock itch, as the same fungus causes them. Here are the most common symptoms:
- Itchiness, especially right after taking off your shoes
- Scaly, cracked, or peeling skin, especially between the toes
- Burning or stinging skin
- Dry, scaly skin on the bottom of your feet, extending up on the sides
- Inflamed skin, which may appear reddish, purplish, or grayish, depending on your skin color
You can use an over-the-counter anti-fungal medication to treat it. But you should contact your Run Doctor providers if you have diabetes or the infection doesn’t get better despite using these treatments.
The most common causes of the infection
Here are 4 of the most common causes of contracting this infection. You can use this information to try to prevent catching it.
Visiting damp public places
If you frequently go to damp public places, you are at greater risk of contracting this infection. These places include locker rooms, pools, and public showers. You can reduce your risk of contracting the infection by wearing sandals or flip-flops in these areas.
Having wet feet
Having wet feet and wearing socks with sweaty, damp feet, especially for prolonged time periods, increases your risk of contracting athlete’s foot. You should make sure to thoroughly dry your feet before putting on socks and shoes and to keep your feet dry. If your feet feel sweaty during the day, you should change into dry socks and shoes.
Sharing towels or other clothing
When you share towels with an infected person, you are passing the infection from them to you. Other common ways of passing the infection back and forth between two people include sharing clothes or even sleeping in the same bed together.
Stopping treatment too early
If you have a case of athlete’s foot and start treating it, you risk it returning if you stop treatment too soon. Make sure to follow the treatment instructions fully and don’t stop using it before the recommended time.
If you have athlete’s foot and it’s not going away, or if it keeps coming back despite treatment, you should seek medical attention. Contact the Washington Foot & Ankle Sports Medicine providers or request an appointment online.