Tips on How to Avoid the Development of Athlete's Foot

Mar 07, 2023
Tips on How to Avoid the Development of Athlete's Foot
If burning and itching on your feet or between your toes is driving you mad, you may have athlete’s foot. Learn how this contagious fungal infection spreads and how you can minimize your risk of getting it.

It’s estimated that 25% of Americans have athlete’s foot at any given time. Because this fungal infection can spread so easily, it’s always worth your while to take precautions to protect your feet.

At Foot and Ankle Specialists in Memorial City, The Woodlands, and Huntsville, Texas, our experienced podiatrists specialize in the treatment and prevention of athlete’s foot infection. We also give you the resources you need to prevent recurrent infections, so you can keep your feet healthy and stop the spread of infection to others.

Why you have athlete’s foot

If you spend time barefoot in public locker rooms or swimming pools, you’re definitely at risk for developing athlete’s foot.

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that thrives in moist, warm environments. Fungal organisms (dermophytes) can live for some time on floors and other surfaces. If you make contact with these surfaces in your bare feet, dermophytes can enter your body through cracks in your skin or tears in your toenails.

You might also be at increased risk for recurrent athlete’s foot if you sweat a lot but don’t change your socks and shoes frequently enough.

Spreading athlete's foot infection is just as easy. Anytime you touch the infected skin on your feet, you can spread the fungus to other parts of your body and other people. You can also contaminate any surfaces you touch.

Treating athlete’s foot

While some people can find relief for athlete’s foot symptoms with over-the-counter sprays and powders, it’s always a good idea to consult with our experts at Foot and Ankle Specialists if you think you have athlete’s foot.

Symptoms of a fungal infection can affect your toes and feet and include:

  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Scaly, dry skin
  • Blisters

A fungal infection can also make your toenails thick, discolored, and brittle.

We confirm an athlete’s foot infection during a physical exam. Our podiatrists also create a customized treatment plan to quickly relieve your symptoms and clear your infection. This usually involves treatment with topical or oral antifungal medications.

You’ll also need to make some lifestyle changes to prevent recurrent infections. 

5 easy athlete’s foot prevention tips

The goal of athlete’s foot prevention is to avoid circumstances that increase your risk for developing the infection. Our providers recommend incorporating strategies into your daily routine such as:

1. Wear shoes in public spaces

Invest in a good pair of shower shoes to wear at the gym or public pool and avoid going barefoot in any public space.

2. Choose lightweight socks and shoes

Select shoes and socks made of lightweight, breathable materials that allow air to circulate to your feet. Always have two pairs of socks and shoes on hand, so you can let the damp pair dry completely before wearing them again.

3. Practice good foot hygiene

Caring for your feet properly is an essential part of athlete’s foot prevention. Wash your feet with soap and water daily and dry them thoroughly, especially in between your toes. Apply a high-quality moisturizer to keep your skin from drying out and cracking.

You also need to wash your hands each time you touch your feet to prevent the spread of infection.

4. Don’t share personal items

When you’re around others in a public locker room or pool, don’t share personal items like your towel, bar of soap, or shower shoes. If someone borrows your stuff, be sure to wash those items in hot water before using them again.

5. Manage underlying health issues

If you have chronic health issues that weaken your immune system or interfere with healthy blood circulation, our providers work with you on a treatment plan to protect your feet. For instance, we offer diabetic foot care services to protect your feet from open sores that make you more susceptible to athlete’s foot infections.

Call the Foot and Ankle Specialists office near you to schedule an athlete’s foot evaluation, or book an appointment online today.