Athlete's Foot

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When something goes wrong with your feet, you want them to heal correctly. Some foot and ankle conditions benefit from home care, but you still should know when it is time to seek professional assistance from Premier Podiatry Group, P.C. One example of this is athlete’s foot. This fungal infection can cause annoying symptoms, but athlete’s foot treatment is often quite effective and, even better, the infection is preventable.

Athlete’s Foot Symptoms and Causes

With this infection, the fungus is transferred to your foot through contact with an infected individual or a contaminated surface. The microorganisms can often be found in warm, humid environments—human feet, locker room floors, indoor pool decks, and communal showering areas—or residing on materials that touch them. Socks, shoes, and towels are often contaminated by someone who has the fungal infection.

The main symptom of athlete’s foot is the itching, burning sensation it causes. Most case are accompanied by a scaly, red rash and the symptoms usually begin between the toes before spreading across the foot. Some of the other symptoms include blisters, chronic dryness, and even ulcers, all of which are more typical for severe infections.

The infection can be mistaken for dry skin or eczema, which have similar symptoms. If you are unsure what is affecting your feet, schedule an appointment with our Ebensburg, PA podiatrist office and we can diagnose it for you.

Risk Factors

The infection is highly-contagious, so anyone with feet has a potential risk of contracting it, but the condition is more often seen in men. Besides gender, some of the other risk factors include:

Frequent wearing of tight-fitting shoes—particularly models that do not allow the feet to breathe—and damp socks.

A weakened immune system that has an impaired ability to fight the infection.

Walking in gym locker rooms, showering areas, and on indoor pool decks without adequate protection.

Exposure to items—rugs, mats, towels, socks, shoes, and even bed linens—contaminated by an infected individual.

Treating Cases of Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot can be irritating and even cause pain in some cases, but at least it is often treated effectively with over-the-counter antifungal products (powders, sprays, ointments). When you use one of these products, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. Symptoms may clear up before the infection is completely treated.

Mild cases that are caught early typically benefit from athlete’s foot treatment at home, but severe infections or ones that do not respond to over-the-counter products will likely need professional care. We can prescribe oral and/or topical medications that are stronger and will work.

Preventing Athlete’s Foot

To lessen your risk of athlete’s foot, make sure you:

Keep your feet dry. Dry them completely before putting on your socks after a shower or bath. Give special attention to the areas between your toes. Unless you have diabetes, walk barefoot at home to let the feet breathe and change socks that become wet.

Choose the right footwear. Socks with moisture-wicking properties and shoes constructed from materials that allow feet to breathe help promote dryness and deprive fungus of the moisture it needs to survive.

Use antifungal products. These are great for treatment, but antifungal spray or powder can be used daily in footwear and on feet to lower the risk of an infection.

Protect your feet. While in the gym locker room or on a pool deck, wear shower shoes or sandals to keep your feet safe.

Professional Care for Foot Fungal Infections

The majority of mild and moderate athlete’s foot cases can be treated on your own, but severe and stubborn infections may need professional treatment. When this is the case, simply contact Premier Podiatry Group, P.C. and we can provide the care you need. For additional information, call our Ebensburg, PA office at (814) 472-2660 or schedule your appointment online today.