Now that gyms and swimming pools are open due to restrictions to being lifted, keep in mind practices that can help you avoid athletes’ foot. Whilst it’s a common condition, it’s highly irritating, and can cause continuous misery if the infection isn’t treated effectively.
What is athletes’ foot?
Athletes’ foot is a fungal infection. It’s contagious and can be picked up from walking barefoot on a workout/non-slip mat in public places like those mentioned above; these porous surfaces can transfer the fungus from person to person. The same could be said for sharing towels, and especially footwear.
The fungus thrives in warm, damp places—between the toes provides the perfect environment. It can also spread to other parts of your body; for example, if you scratch the infected area the infection could appear on your hands, and should you touch your groin without washing your hands, the fungus could view your groin area as a second home.
How to reduce the risk of infection
Wear flip-flops or rubber shoes to walk between the pool/gym and its changing room/showers, which will prevent your skin touching surfaces other people will have walked on who may have the infection.
As the fungus likes the damp, make sure to dry your feet fully after swimming or working out, particularly between your toes, which is the hotbed for athletes’ foot to take root. Use a separate towel for your feet than the one you use to dry the rest of your body.
It goes without saying that the sharing of footwear is not a good idea if you don’t want to succumb to the condition. It’s a good idea to regularly alternate the shoes you wear each day, so that each pair gets an airing after use, and sweat doesn’t get chance to build up. Footwear that’s breathable, such as fabric trainers, etc. are a good idea, as they allow the air to circulate around your feet. Wear a fresh pair of socks every day—preferably cotton ones.
There are some effective preventative powders that you can buy over the counter at your local chemist. These help to absorb any water or sweat between your toes and on your feet.
Identifying athletes’ foot
When the infection takes hold, red patches of scaly skin form. These can sometimes be confused for eczema and can also be itchy; if you’re unsure, ask your pharmacist or G.P. which it is, so that you can apply the most appropriate treatment.
Treating athletes’ foot
Once you know this is what you’re dealing with, there are a host of different treatments available, from creams to powders to sprays. However, though it may seem easy enough to combat, it can be difficult to get rid of completely, and it’s common for the infection to return again just when you think you’ve finally seen the back of it.
The itchiness can be annoying and whilst you will likely have the urge to scratch it, it’s wise to find a distraction. Scratching the dry skin can make your feet feel very sore.
If your hands are not clean when you touch the site of the infection, you could introduce other bacteria via the broken skin and cause further infection. If the condition isn’t treated, it could spread to your toenails, resulting in a fungal nail infection that will also need some attention.
Over the counter treatments often work, but in some cases, your athletes’ foot may need a more concentrated solution to prevent it recurring.
Treat Your Feet are trained to deal with athletes’ foot and other infections/problems with the feet and lower limbs. Don’t continue to suffer from this type of minor ailment when we can send it on its way quickly and effectively.