Athlete’s Foot: What You Need to Know

Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that affects the sole of the foot and usually begins between the toes.

There are a variety of fungi that cause athlete’s foot, and these can be contracted in many locations, including gyms, locker rooms, swimming pools, nail salons, and from contaminated socks and clothing. In many cases, the fungus that causes athlete’s foot is contracted from walking barefoot in areas where someone else with athlete’s foot has walked.

If you have a rash on your foot that doesn’t improve within a few weeks after self-treatment, consult your healthcare provider. If you have diabetes, it is best to seek help sooner rather than later to avoid further complications.

Causes

Athlete’s foot is similar to other fungal infections, such as ringworm and jock itch, and can be spread by contact with an infected person or from contact with contaminated surfaces, such as towels, floors and shoes.

Although athlete’s foot is contagious, some people are more likely to get it than others. The chance of contracting athlete’s foot also increases with age. Additionally, if you’ve already had athlete’s foot once, you are at an increased risk to get it again.

Symptoms

There are many possible symptoms of athlete’s foot. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Itching, stinging, and burning between the toes or on the soles of the feet
  • A scaly, itch rash between the toes or on the soles of the feet
  • Cracking and peeling skin on the feet
  • Dry skin on the soles or sides of the feet
  • A discoloration of the toenails

Athlete’s Foot Treatment & Prevention

Treatment

If your athlete’s foot is mild, an over-the-counter anti-fungal ointment, lotion, powder or spray should be enough to clear up your infection. However, if your athlete’s foot doesn’t respond to over-the-counter treatments, you may need a prescription-strength medication to apply to your feet. Severe infections may require antifungal pills such as terbinafine (Lamisil), itraconazole (Sporanox), or fluconazole (Diflucan).

At Delray Beach Podiatry, Dr. Ian S. Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, offers his patients a multitude of remedies for their ailing feet.

“You have to have a very good anti-bacterial fungal soap,” said Dr. Goldbaum, who uses Funga Soap by PediFix in his offices in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. “If the problem is beyond that, then you can go to the store and purchases sprays or lotions such as tinactin. If that doesn’t work, then you get into prescription drugs.”

It’s important to seek treatment for athlete’s foot sooner rather than later, according to Dr. Goldbaum, as the infection can, in fact, lead to even worse problems than itching and redness.

“If the wounds created by athlete’s foot become wet or seeping, that becomes a portal to an infection,” said Dr. Goldbaum, who notes that treatment for athlete’s foot should generally be continued for four weeks or at least one week after all of the skin symptoms have cleared.

Prevention

According to Dr. Goldbaum, South Floridians are at an especially high risk for contracting athlete’s foot due to the frequently torrid weather.

“The biggest thing for people in Florida is that taking precautions against the hot and humid climate,” he said. “You have to wear socks and change them 2-3 times a day if you perspire a lot. You should be washing your feet two times a day with anti-bacterial soap. You need to lubricate your feet and powder your shoes at least twice a week.”

Other preventative measures include:

  • Keeping your feet clean and dry, especially between your toes
  • Avoid wearing shoes made of synthetic materials, such as vinyl or rubber
  • Never wear the same pair of shoes every day.
  • Wear sandals when using public showers or standing around swimming pools
  • DON’T SHARE SHOES!
  • If you use an orthoic insert, make sure to remove it and treat it with anti-fungal spray every few days.

In the end, however, Dr. Goldbaum insists that good hygiene often plays the biggest role in preventing athlete’s foot.

“I see it at my office every day,” said Dr. Goldbaum, who treats patients for athlete’s foot regularly. “Simply put: people have to take better care of their feet. They have to wash under and in between their toes instead of just letting water run over them. A lot of people don’t wash their feet properly.”

Follow Dr. Goldbaum on Twitter @Delray_Podiatry

The content on this website is for informational purposes only. Do not rely or act upon information from www.DelrayBeachPodiatry.com without seeking professional medical advice. If you live in South Florida and would like a consultation with Dr. Ian Goldbaum, a podiatric physician and surgeon with over 30 years of experience, please see our contact information below:

DELRAY BEACH

16244 S. Military Trail #290, Delray Beach, FL 33484

561-499-0033

BOCA RATON

2900 N. Military Trail #205, Boca Raton, FL 33431 (SOUTH BLDG)

561-499-2683

BOYNTON BEACH

8198 Jog Road #100, Boynton Beach, FL 33472

561-736-4002

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