Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection that can cause irritating itchiness, but there are steps you can take to treat the condition and even prevent it from happening. Learn more about what you can do and when it is time to seek our professional help for stubborn cases.
Athlete’s Foot Causes and Symptoms
The primary cause behind athlete’s foot is a contagious fungus that is also responsible for jock itch, ringworm, and sometimes fungal toenails. It can be passed along from person to person via direct contact or even from contaminated surfaces, including floors, socks, and towels. The fungus is more prevalent in environments that are humid and warm, which enable the microorganisms to thrive.
The main symptoms of athlete’s foot are itchiness and a red, scaly rash. These signs will generally begin between toes before spreading to other regions of the foot. Typically, the itching sensation tends to be the worst following the removal of socks and shoes.
In addition to the itching and rash, other symptoms can include blisters, ulcers, and chronic dryness. Many cases are mistakenly considered to simply be dry skin or even eczema, because the symptoms are so similar.
The biggest risk factor for this common fungal infection is simply having feet, but it tends to be more common for men than women. Other factors that make it more likely for certain individuals to contract athlete’s foot include:
- Wearing tight-fitting shoes or damp socks frequently.
- Having a weakened immune system that cannot effectively fight off the infection.
- Walking barefoot in areas where the fungus often resides, like gym locker rooms, communal showering areas, and indoor pool decks.
- Sharing such items as shoes, bed linens, rugs, and mats with another individual who has the fungal infection.
Treating Cases of Athlete’s Foot
The good news is that athlete’s foot is often treated easily with the use of over-the-counter products, including sprays, powders, and other ointments. This is most effective when the condition is caught early and the instructions on the respective container for the product are followed as intended.
Cases that are more severe, or which are not responding to over-the-counter remedies, may require prescription-strength medication, either topical or oral, to resolve the issue. When this is the case, simply contact us here at Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma and we can provide the treatment you need.
Athlete’s Foot Prevention
In all likelihood, you would prefer to know how to prevent athlete’s foot altogether. Fortunately, there are a variety of easy tactics to help keep your feet safe from this infection:
- Keep your feet dry. This especially applies to the areas between your toes, but make sure to dry your feet completely before putting on socks, change your socks and shoes if they get wet, and go barefoot when you are home (unless you live with diabetes).
- Wear the right footwear. Choose socks and shoes that wick moisture away and allow your feet to breathe. This will help keep them dry and avoid having an environment that is conducive to the growth of fungus.
- Use antifungal products. An antifungal spray or powder, used daily, can be especially effective for preventing this common fungal infection.
- Protect your feet. You protect your feet from the elements by putting on shoes before heading outside, but you can also provide protection against fungal infections by wearing shower shoes or sandals in gym locker rooms or showering areas.
Professional Care for Athlete’s Foot in Oklahoma City
As noted above, home treatment can be rather successfully in addressing this problem, but severe cases may require professional help. That’s where Foot & Ankle Center of Oklahoma comes into play. We can assess your situation and provide the treatment that will clear up your tough case of athlete’s foot. Call us today at (405) 418-2676 or schedule your appointment with our OKC office online today.
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