An In Depth Guide To Athletes Foot and How To Treat It
Around 15% of people are dealing with athlete’s foot at any given time and 70% of people will have it at least once in their life but that doesn’t make it any less embarrassing or uncomfortable.
Luckily, athlete’s foot is manageable and can be prevented with proper care. Let’s take a look at the causes and treatments of this skin condition.
What Is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is an extremely common fungal infection that usually affects the skin on the feet, particularly in between the toes. There are a few different types of athlete’s foot with varying symptoms, but most people experience itching, redness, and flaking or scaling of the skin.
Despite its name, athlete’s foot can affect more than the feet and toenails. It can also spread to your fingernails and hands.
Will Athletes Foot Go Away on Its Own?
Absolutely not. If left untreated, athlete’s foot can cause the skin on your foot to crack. It can also cause bacterial infections in open wounds, creating other medical issues in the future.
The fungus thrives off the keratin in your nails. When your toenails are lacking keratin, they can become thick, yellowed, and crumbly.
Another problem with leaving athlete’s foot untreated is that when you scratch the affected itchy area, you open up the wounds, allowing the fungus to spread further.
Most importantly, you should treat your athlete’s foot to avoid spreading it to other people.
How Can You Treat Athlete’s Foot?
First things first, go to a doctor for an official diagnosis. Usually, whether or not you actually have athlete’s foot can be determined easily with a visual examination. Your doctor may examine a piece of the affected skin under a microscope to rule out any other infections.
Then, your doctor will recommend a topical anti-fungal treatment. In some cases, they may prescribe anti-fungal oral medications. Whether you’re applying an anti-fungal cream or taking anti-fungal pills, it’s important to be very consistent.
Your doctor will likely recommend that you wash your feet once or twice daily. It’s extremely important to dry them thoroughly afterward because athlete’s foot fungus thrives in moist environments.
Be patient. Athlete’s foot damages the top layer of skin, which can take over a month to fully heal again.
How Can You Prevent Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is not necessarily a result of poor hygiene like some people think. However, you can take several precautions to avoid dealing with it in the future.
Keep the floor of your bathroom extremely clean. Bathrooms are a breeding ground for fungus because they provide a moist, warm environment for fungus to grow. Let your bathroom air out after a steamy shower.
Don’t share towels, shoes, socks, or anything else that will come into contact with your feet. Never walk around barefoot when you’re in public bathrooms, locker rooms, or pool areas.
Wash your feet daily and do your best to keep them dry. This may include changing your socks halfway through the day if they get wet or sweaty. At home, walk around barefoot to air out your feet.
Take Athlete’s Foot Seriously
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of athlete’s foot, the worst thing you can do is wait. Seek help from one of the podiatrists at Family Foot & Ankle Centers and in the meantime, do your best to keep your feet clean and dry. We are improving lives one foot at a time. Call our office to schedule an appointment today at 972.597.4132. Get in touch with us to schedule your appointment today.
In addition to athletes foot we can also help you with ingrown toenails, hammertoe treatment, toenail fungus, heel pain. ankle and foot surgery, and all other podiatry issues.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our our offices located in Waxahachie, Ennis, or Corsicana, TX today. We have helped over 50,000 happy patients in Texas since 1999 and we are intent on improving lives one foot at a time.