Regardless of the popular way people refer to it, you don’t need to be an athlete to get athlete’s foot (medically known as tinea pedis). This common fungal infection is most frequently contracted around pools, showers, and locker rooms, but it can breed and thrive in any dark, warm, and humid environment. Unfortunately, many shoes match these conditions quite well, especially if your feet easily become sweaty.
An infection will usually begin between the toes, often taking the form of a red, scaly rash. The rash will often itch, and tends to be worst in the moments after removing your socks and shoes. Additional symptoms can include dryness of the skin, burning or stinging pain, and inflammation. Some forms of the infection also cause blisters or ulcers, leading to even more swelling and pain.
Athlete’s foot can take hold on one or both feet and is easily spread, usually through scratching the infection and then touching other parts of the body. The hands, underarms, and groin are particularly susceptible areas. The disease can also spread to the soles of the feet and even the toenails.
Taking on the Competition
If a rash on your foot doesn’t improve after a couple weeks of self-treatment, it’s time to contact Dr. Robert Parker for an evaluation. You should call for aid even sooner if you have diabetes or notice excessive swelling, redness, drainage, or fever.
Athlete’s foot can often be diagnosed through a basic examination, but additional tests may be run to rule out other possibilities. This may involve placing your feet under a special light or sending a sample of your skin for lab testing.
Once identified, a treatment plan will be organized to fight the fungus. A mild infection may respond well to over-the-counter antifungal medicines, such as ointments, powders, or sprays. If the infection is worse or doesn’t respond to more conservative treatments, a prescription-strength medication or oral antifungal pills may be recommended.
A Prevent Defense
To reduce the risks of tinea pedis, you need to protect your feet where it is most often transmitted and keep your toes and shoes from being prime breeding grounds for the fungus. Use shower shoes whenever you’re in a public area such as a pool or locker room, and don’t share them, or any of your shoes, with others. Keep your feet dry by going barefoot at home, making sure to dry between your toes after a shower, changing your socks whenever they get wet, and wearing light, “breathable” footwear (not materials such as vinyl or rubber). After using a pair of shoes, give them a day to air out and dry before wearing them again.
If a case of athlete’s foot is challenging your turf and causing you pain and irritation, contact Dr. Parker and his staff in Houston, TX to find relief. We can determine the extent of the infection and recommend the best treatments for your needs. Call (281) 497-2850 to schedule an appointment or use our online contact form for more information.