The first thing you need to know about athlete’s foot is that you don’t have to be an athlete to get it. It’s common among people who participate in sports because their feet are often confined to damp, sweaty shoes for long periods of time. But you can get athlete’s foot without ever taking to the court or field.
Our podiatrists at Family Foot and Ankle Center of South Jersey specialize in all things regarding your feet and ankles, and they can help you get rid of that annoying athlete’s foot that’s causing you discomfort. Better yet, we’ve compiled a list of preventive measures that can help you avoid it in the first place.
Here are five useful tips to keep your feet out of trouble this summer, whether you’re an athlete or not.
1. Beware of public pools and showers
The fungus that causes athlete’s foot lurks around moist, warm environments like public showers and swimming pools. It hangs out on the wet pool deck and on the shower floor just waiting for you step in so it can attach itself to the bottom of your feet.
Protecting yourself from athlete’s foot is as simple as wearing shower shoes when sharing a stall, or flip flops when walking the deck at the public pool. If you never come into contact with the source, you shouldn’t get athlete’s foot.
2. Dry up
Showers and pools are not the only moist, wet environments you may encounter this summer. When was the last time you checked out the inside of your shoes? If you reach in and discover it’s warm and moist (which is likely the case during the hot humid months of a New Jersey summer), you’re at risk for athlete’s foot.
A good fix is to wear breathable cotton socks and shoes and take them off as soon as possible once they become damp or wet. Towel off your feet and let them air dry to give yourself the best chance of avoiding athlete’s foot.
3. Stay away from others who have athlete’s foot
The athlete’s foot fungus is highly contagious. If you live with or come into contact with someone you know has athlete’s foot, practice extreme caution to keep yourself safe.
Keep your feet covered at all times when you walk in common living areas, and whatever you do, don’t share towels, sheets, shoes, socks, or blankets with someone who is already infected.
4. Switch your shoes and socks
If you notice your sneakers are moist at the end of the day, give them a full 24 hours to dry out before you wear them again. Moisture creeps down into the padding of the sole and provides an ideal breeding ground for the athlete’s foot fungus.
If possible, alternate the shoes you choose to do your chores, walk the dog, hike, bike, or any other activity that may cause your feet to perspire.
Likewise for your socks. In addition to making sure your socks are made of natural fibers, changing them often is key to preventing athlete’s foot. One of the worst things you can do is go for a run, come home, kick off your shoes, but keep your socks on.
Those wet, warm tube socks are like a nightclub for an athlete’s foot fungus party. The same goes after a long day that office. After eight hours of being cooped up in a synthetic sock and a leather shoe, you almost guarantee foot fungus. So peel those socks off the first chance you get and have a clean dry pair ready to sub in.
5. Use foot powder
Antifungal foot powders help you prevent athlete’s foot three ways. First, the ingredients in it fight against the fungus that causes the itching, flaking, and redness.
Second, it reduces friction. By allowing your feet the freedom to move without rubbing in between your toes, foot powder can prevent foot sweat before it begins.
Third, it absorbs any moisture that may develop in your shoes and socks throughout the day.
If you end up getting athlete’s foot even after taking these precautions, don’t worry. Our expert podiatrists can treat the fungus and have you back to normal in a few weeks. But don’t procrastinate, the sooner you start treatment, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy summer to its fullest. Call our office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, today or click the “book online” button to schedule a consultation.