Athlete’s Foot Care
Whatever you might have been told, athlete’s foot isn’t just for athletes. It can happen to anyone. It’s one of those annoying things that can happen even if you’ve got decent foot hygiene. It’s a fungal infection that normally affects the skin in between your toes. In fact, it’s actually a form of ringworm. You normally get it by walking barefoot in changing rooms and showers or touching the affected skin of someone who’s already got it. You’re more likely to get it if you’re prone to sweaty feet or if the skin on your feet is damaged.
So, how do you get rid of it? Well, there’s are some medications that can help it go away. But you should also follow a strict foot hygiene system to make sure it doesn’t get any worse. In this article, we’ve outlined how to care and prevent athlete’s foot.
Try Some Anti-Fungal Cream Or Spray
The first step is to visit your local pharmacist. They’re likely to prescribe you some anti-fungal cream to apply to your feet. These creams are normally powerful enough to treat most cases of athlete’s foot. The most common brands are clotrimazole (Lotrimin) and terbinafine (Lamasil). You can also get sprays like Scholls Athlete’s Foot Spray in most pharmacists. This is the first step because it’s important to treat your athlete’s foot before it spreads or gets worse.
Dry Your Feet After Washing
Now you’ve got the right treatment for your athlete’s foot, you need to make sure you’ve got good hygiene. You should wash your feet every day. Then, make sure you dry your feet thoroughly, particularly between your toes. Make sure you dab them with the towel, instead of rubbing them because you could agitate the affected area. The reason for drying your feet is because this type of fungus really thrives in dark, damp places. So, it’s best to keep them clean and dry with plenty of air flow.
Use A Separate Towel For Your Feet
This one is pretty obvious. Don’t forget that athlete’s foot is a fungal infection and can easily spread. That’s why you need to get a separate towel for your feet. You can use it more than once, but you definitely need to wash it regularly. It’s all about making sure your feet are clean and dry and you’re minimizing the risk of spreading the infection.
Take Your Shoes Off At Home
We already talked about how airflow is important when treating athlete’s foot. But we definitely don’t recommend getting your feet out everywhere you go. You might lose some friends if you start waving your feet around in their faces. The one place where it’s cool to let your feet breathe is at home. You can wear sandals synthetic socks around the house. Basically, let your feet breathe as much as possible without alienating the people close to you.
Wear Clean Socks Every Day
We all have those days where we sniff a pair of socks and decide they can last another day. Normally, there’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a big no-no when you’ve got athlete’s foot. This is again related to the fact that the fungus can grow in a damp dark place. A new pair of socks – running socks and compression socks are the best – will help keep your feet clean and dry.
Don’t Scratch Affected Skin
When you get athlete’s foot, you’ll have a huge temptation to scratch it all the time. This is one of the worst parts of having athlete’s foot because if you scratch it, you can make it much worse. Not only will you aggravate the infection, but you can also spread it to other parts of the body. It’s quite rare to get it on your hands and face, but it can happen and it’s not pretty. When athlete’s foot spreads to the hands it’s called tinea pedis and can be a real pain in everyday life.
Don’t Walk Around Barefoot
There’re two main reasons you shouldn’t walk around barefoot, especially in public areas like changing rooms and showers. Firstly, it’s a damp area which could make it easier for the fungus to grow. And secondly, you could be spreading it between other people. This might not have a direct effect on you, but it’s not very neighborly to be spreading it around your local gym. It’s your responsibility to keep it to yourself. When you’re in changing rooms and showers, you should wear flip-flops at all time.
We already talked about having your own personal towel, but this goes for socks and shoes as well. You can’t just slip someone else’s shoes on to take the bins out, because you might spread it. Let everyone close to you know not to borrow your shoes, socks, or towels. It might help to actually mark your towel clearly so that everyone knows it’s yours and keep your shoes and socks in a separate area. It’s easy to forget about athlete’s foot and therefore it’s easy to spread.
Don’t Wear The Same Shoes Every Day
You might not have thought of this one. If you have a favorite pair of shoes, it’s time to start swapping them out every day. This is because there could be some leftover sweat or moisture from the day before. If you really do have to wear the same shoes, you should put them on a radiator to dry them out thoroughly. If you wear running shoes or hiking shoes regularly, this is especially important because they’re even more likely to get sweaty.
Don’t Wear Shoes That Make Your Feet Sweat
Some shoes make your feet sweat more than others. If you’ve got a particularly sweaty pair of shoes, you should swap them for something with better airflow. Gore-tex shoes are some of the best shoes you can get to avoid sweaty feet. Gore-tex material is designed to let a small amount of water vapor to pass from the inside out. They’re also much more breathable and waterproof than normal fabrics. So, they’re probably the perfect shoes to wear when you’re suffering from athlete’s foot.
When To Visit The Doctor
Most cases of athlete’s foot are treatable if you follow the advice above. The most important thing is to keep your feet dry, clean, and provide plenty of airflow to them. However, there are some cases where you will need to visit the doctor. If you’ve followed our tips and tried an anti-fungal treatment from the pharmacist, you should see it start to go away. If you don’t think the treatment is working, you should ask your doctor for advice.
Also, if your foot is in serious discomfort or it’s red, hot, and painful, this could be a much more serious infection. Athlete’s foot isn’t hugely painful, so this should be an indicator to seek out medical care.
If you have diabetes, foot problems can become a lot more serious. This is because diabetes affects the blood flow to the feet, which can make it difficult for infections to heal. Also, if you have a weakened immune system – such as that from an organ transplant or chemotherapy – you should visit your doctor as soon as you get athletes foot.