Athlete’s foot is caused by a kind of fungus in a group called dermatophytes. They thrive in damp, warm atmospheres and easily transfer between surfaces. This makes many public places, like pools, locker rooms, community showers, and saunas lively breeding grounds for the fungi. You pick up the microscopic organisms in the environment around you and, if the conditions are right, they begin to grow. Feet that sweat frequently offer an ideal habitat. Tight shoes that don’t allow your feet to breathe encourage sweating, creating that warm, moist environment where organisms thrive. Once you pick up the culprits, this infection causes uncomfortable and unsightly damage to your skin.
Mounting a Defense
Protecting your feet from fungus helps you to prevent it from coming back or even to avoid infection in the first place. Dry your feet completely after washing them, even in between the toes. Wear clean, thick socks made of natural materials that pull moisture away from your feet, and change them every day—two or three times a day if your feet sweat frequently!
Wear roomy shoes that allow air to flow through. If you’ve had an infection before, consider continuing to use the anti-fungal treatments in your shoes to keep it from re-growing there. Also, always wear sandals or shower shoes when visiting public facilities likely to harbor fungi.
Athlete’s foot is uncomfortable, but you don’t have to suffer with it. You can fight the fungi and restore your feet to their natural, itch-free beauty. If you or someone you care about is struggling with athlete’s foot, don’t wait until it is out of control and hard to get rid of to seek expert help—especially if you have pre-existing conditions like diabetes that put you at high-risk for serious complications. Contact Dr. Trent Timson of Community Foot Clinic of McPherson for an appointment or more information by visiting the contact or appointment pages online, or by calling our Kansas office at (620) 241-3313. Serving Marion, Hillsboro, Lindsborg, and the surrounding areas.
The Treatment Game Plan
Topical and oral anti-fungal medications tend to be very successful at killing the unwanted organisms. For mild infections, over-the-counter lotions, sprays, powders, and ointments might be enough to eliminate the fungus on your skin. It’s also important to treat the inside of your shoes as well—frequently the organisms transfer from your foot to your shoes and linger inside, re-infecting you every time you wear them. For stronger and recurring infections, you may need prescription-strength medication. Specialist Dr. Trent Timson can evaluate the state of your athlete’s foot and help you determine the best possible solution to eliminate the source.
The infection has many possible symptoms. Redness, dryness, itching, flaking skin, stinging or burning sensations, and even cracks and blisters are all common signs of athlete’s foot. Any area of your feet can be affected, though the soles and in between your toes are the most common places to find it lurking. The fungus can also spread to the nails, resulting in fungal toenail infections, which prolong your condition and make it much harder to treat. For people with compromised immune systems, like diabetics, this condition can open up the body to bacteria and create significant complications. Though you can encounter the organisms that cause this in many places, when your feet provide a perfect breeding ground, you have a much higher risk of sustaining an infection.