Despite its name, anyone can get athlete’s foot. It’s caused by a fungus that grows on skin in dark, warm, damp places. If your feet tend to sweat a lot, you’re always in danger of developing a case of athlete’s foot. Fortunately, you can prevent an infection with sensible precautions and healthful habits. That’s exactly what the foot specialists at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens, NY recommend, because prevention eliminates the need for treatment. Call today for an appointment.
People tend to associate athlete’s foot with participating in sports. The truth is that almost anyone can develop the aggravating condition. If your feet sweat when you wear tight-fitting shoes or if you tend to walk barefoot in communal areas such as showers, pools or saunas, you’re among those at risk for contracting athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot results from a tinea fungus infection. It’s the same fugus that causes conditions like jock itch or ringworm. You can find several temporarily effective over-the-counter (OTC) remedies for athlete’s foot at your local pharmacy. But it’s common for the infection to come back.
If it’s already making your feet itch, get professional treatment from the podiatry doctors at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center. These Queens, NY doctors permanently eliminate the itchy condition. Prescription medication and lifestyle alterations give you your best chance to prevent uncomfortable and unsightly recurrences.
Prevention through Lifestyle Changes
A few simple changes reduce your risk of getting athlete’s foot substantially. Modify your behavior and lifestyle by:
- Wearing well-ventilated, roomy shoes
- Washing your feet with soap and water every day
- Slipping on waterproof shoes or sandals when you’re in wet public places
- Wearing only your own personal shoes; don’t let others wear them
- Regularly changing your socks
- Buying socks that are made of cotton and other natural fibers that tend to dry quickly
- Carefully drying between your toes after showering or bathing
- Using powders on your feet if you notice excessive sweating
- Alternating the shoes you wear daily so they dry out between uses
- Applying alcohol swipes between your toes to kill surface fungus and keep your skin dry
- Reporting and treating athlete’s foot promptly
- Maintaining your treatment regimen until the rash is completely gone
- Reducing the desire to scratch by soothing your feet in cool water; just remember to dry them thoroughly afterward
What Symptoms Indicate Athlete’s Foot?
A fungal infection usually begins between your toes. This area often stays moist and dark in your socks and shoes, making it an ideal environment for fungal growth. The fungus responsible for athlete’s foot is persistent. It may strike only one foot, or it may appear on both feet. You may even see it on your hands as you scratch the itch. If you haven’t been diagnosed with athlete’s foot yet by a Medex specialist, you may notice some telltale symptoms that include:
- A scaly red rash
- Ulcers or wounds that refuse to heal
- Significant itching, especially right after you remove your socks and shoes
- Chronic dry or scaling skin on the soles of your feet
Who’s at Risk for Athlete’s Foot?
While athlete’s foot tends to affect men more often, it occurs in both genders. Anyone who provides a warm dark environment for the tinea fungus can be stricken with athlete’s foot, ringworm or jock itch. Your chances of infection increase if your lifestyle includes:
- Wearing damp socks or shoes, especially for an extended amount of time
- Living in humid, warm environments
- Wearing ill-fitting shoes that make your feet sweat
- Walking barefoot in well-used areas where there’s high humidity, such as saunas, showers, pools, locker rooms and shared baths
- Living with someone who has an active infection, while sharing linens, towels, mats or shoes
The fungus responsible for these conditions is highly contagious. It spreads quickly, causing itchiness, dry skin and a rash wherever it occurs. Your hands, groin fingernails and toenails can be affected.
What Treatments and Remedies Exist?
Your podiatrist at the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center diagnoses athlete’s foot with a simple examination during an office visit. Rarely, a skin scraping for lab analysis is necessary to confirm or rule out other problems. Since Medex is a multi-specialty medical practice, they’ve got you covered no matter what. Treatments include:
• For mild conditions, your doctor may suggest over-the-counter antifungal creams, lotions, sprays or powders. These medications fight the fungus, manage your symptoms and reduce moisture to prevent growth.
• For more serious infections or If your infection doesn’t respond to simple medications, your doctor may prescribe prescription-strength lotions or creams.
• For severe cases, antifungal oral medication may be recommended. Side effects occasionally occur with this oral medicine, so your physician monitors your progress.
After you recover, your doctor wants to reduce your chance of future infections. Be ready to discuss your lifestyle and habits to determine how you may need to adjust to prevent recurrences. While uncomfortable and unsightly, athlete’s foot can be managed with a little extra time and effort.
It’s always better to be overly cautious and not get another case of athlete’s foot than have to go through another round of treatment. If you have athlete’s foot, have had it in the past or are susceptible to infections, contact the Medex Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Queens today for a consultation.