The warm weather of summer usually brings the urge to grab the sunscreen and go outside, hit the road for vacations, and plan outdoor activities. However, the warm weather and rise in humidity can also increase your chances of getting athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that most commonly causes a scaly rash in the feet.
In this blog, David J. Kaplan, DPM, of FootCare Specialists, Inc. in San Mateo and Half Moon Bay, California, explains what athlete’s foot is and how you can help avoid getting the condition.
Athlete’s foot, medically called tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that thrives in warm, humid environments and is related to similar conditions, such as ringworm and jock itch. It’s called athlete’s foot because it’s a common problem for athletes. Athletes often have sweaty feet, and if they wear shoes as part of their sport, this confined, humid environment is exactly the kind of environment tinea pedis thrives in.
You get it by touching contaminated surfaces or an infected person. It often starts between the toes, and it can go on to affect other parts of the feet and even the hands. Symptoms include a scaly rash, itching, stinging, and burning in the affected areas. Athlete’s foot isn’t a serious condition, but it can be persistent.
You can help avoid getting athlete’s foot by following some practical precautions.
Athlete’s foot needs humidity and moisture. So while you can’t avoid sweating in the summer heat, washing and drying your feet regularly will help reduce your risk of getting an infection.
You get athlete’s foot by touching contaminated surfaces. And since the fungus that causes the condition can thrive in places like locker rooms, showers, and saunas, try wearing flip-flops, sandals, or some other form of protection.
Applying foot powder to your feet before you put on your shoes can help keep your feet as dry as possible. While talcum powder can help keep your feet dry, antifungal foot powder will go a step further and also help reduce your risk of getting a fungal infection.
Socks help keep your feet dry by soaking up sweat. So if you’re doing a lot of activity or the season is particularly humid, try to change your socks twice a day.
In addition to changing socks, it’s also important to avoid wearing the same shoes all the time. Wearing different shoes will allow a recently used pair to dry out and help keep a fungal infection from taking hold.
Socks, bedding, and towels are common sources of fungal infections, so regularly wash these items in hot water (140°F or higher) to help reduce your risk of getting an infection.
Sharing towels, socks, or shoes can increase your risk of getting or spreading a fungal infection, such as athlete’s foot. So try to bring your own items and avoid letting other people use them.
If you have athlete’s foot, we can give your feet a thorough examination and design a treatment plan to get your feet healthy again. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with FootCare Specialists, Inc. today.