Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that affects the skin on the foot, especially the area between the toes. When left untreated, it can spread to other body parts as well.
The infection usually appears during the spring or summer when the foot gets sweaty and warm inside the shoe, providing the perfect environment for the Trichophyton fungus.
The most common symptoms are burning, redness, flaking, and itchiness. In some cases, the skin of the foot cracks, making it even more vulnerable to bacteria.
Although athlete's foot isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can become quite bothersome if not treated properly, and it can also spread to other areas of the body.
In some cases, seeking medical help should be a priority, especially if you suffer from diabetes, have a weakened immune system, or are pregnant (OTC antifungals aren’t a good choice for pregnant women).
To help you out, our specialists at City Podiatry share their nine tips for preventing athlete's foot this summer.
1. Avoid thick and tight shoes.
Thick and tight shoes squeeze your feet. This makes them more prone to developing a fungal infection because your feet get trapped in a sweaty environment with no air to dry out the moisture.
2. Invest in quality shoes.
Shoes that use plastic as their main materials heat up faster than their leather and canvas counterparts, and they also have a poor breathability score.
3. Avoid swimming pools and gyms.
The bacteria that causes athlete’s foot thrives in warm and humid environments such as public swimming pools and gyms. If you have a weaker immune system than most, you may have to skip going to the gym this summer and opt for a run in the park.
4. Keep feet dry.
For the Trichophyton bacteria to thrive, it needs two things: moisture and heat. When your feet are dry, no matter how hot it is outside, you’re safe from developing fungus on your skin.
Antifungal talcum powders are an inexpensive way to keep your skin dry and comfortable throughout the day.
5. Remove your shoes after exercising.
Right after you finish exercising, remove your shoes and clean your feet using antibacterial soap to kill the bad bacteria on your skin.
6. Don’t share footwear or sandals.
Not even with friends or family. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot thrives in sweat, and even a tiny amount of it can lead to an infection, especially if your immune system isn’t strong enough to fight it.
7. Wear socks made of natural fabrics.
Cotton and silk socks might be more expensive, but they’re also more breathable. Not only do they reduce your chances of getting athlete's foot, but they also help your skin feel more comfortable and cool in the summer.
8. Wear sandals.
When possible, wear sandals. This will help you get enough air to dry out the sweat and lower the temperature on your skin.
9. Look for ways to boost your immune system.
In some cases, strengthening your immune system isn’t possible, especially if you went through an organ transplant or chemotherapy. But if you’re an overall healthy individual who experiences fungal infections a lot, you may want to look into adding more antioxidants and vitamins in your diet to boost your body’s capacity to fight infections.
Contact a specialist to avoid complications
Athlete's foot is easy to treat, but if you don’t respond to over-the-counter antifungals, it might be time to contact a specialist. Our team at City Podiatry can help put together a personalized treatment plan and help you avoid the possibility of complications. To get expert advice and additional tips on how to prevent athlete's foot, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment.