The most common fungal skin infection in the world is tinea pedis, otherwise known as athlete’s foot. Believe it or not, it affects an estimated 70 percent of people at some point in their lives. However, the condition is often misunderstood. Despite its name, it doesn’t just occur in athletes—it can happen to anyone! The name became popularized because of its high incidence among athletes, since their feet are often in sweaty shoes. A warm, moist environment like that is a favorite of fungi, and let’s come clean—we’ve all had sweaty feet one time or another!
The condition usually starts with discomfort and itchiness between your toes, but it can quickly spread to the soles, outsides of your feet, and even other parts of your body. If the infection worsens, you could experience a scaly rash that stings and burns, as well as cracking, peeling, and blistering skin that might even begin to ooze. Yikes! Symptoms are often worse right after removing your socks and shoes, but that doesn’t mean you should keep them on—confining your feet will only make the problem worse.
So how does the fungus find you? Well, actually you find it! You can pick up athlete’s foot by walking barefoot in public areas like saunas, locker rooms, showers, and pools. Although these areas are the biggest culprits, you can also contract the condition from things found right in your home—bath mats, carpets, bed linens, shoes, other people, and even pets! The condition is highly contagious, so it’s important to take precautions in order to stop it before it spreads.
Austin, TX Treatment for Your Itchy Feet
Wash your feet daily and dry them thoroughly, especially between your toes. Fungus is not a fan of clean, dry feet! You can deter it even more by applying some anti-fungal powder as well. Also, change your socks at least once a day, especially if your feet get sweaty, and alternate the shoes that you wear. This will give them ample time to dry out. Choose natural materials, too, like cotton for socks and leather for shoes. These allow feet to breathe and moisture to escape. Protect your feet in public places by slipping on some shower shoes or sandals, and whatever you do, don’t share towels or footwear!
If you do end up with this problem, not to worry. As soon as you see the signs, head to your local drug store and pick up some anti-fungal medication. You can typically find it in a powder, spray, ointment, or lotion. If after a while you do not see signs of improvement, you may need prescription-strength medications, either topical or oral.
Don’t fear the fungus, prevent it! Dr. Craig H. Thomajan DPM, FACFAS can help. For more information or to seek treatment for your athlete’s foot, call (512) 328-8900 or visit us at Austin Foot and Ankle Specialists in Austin, TX. You can also reach us online or find us on Facebook.