Known medically as tinea pedis, this common skin infection of the feet is caused by fungus. Athletes’ feet may infect any part of the foot but because this fungus grows best in warm wet places, it is most commonly found between the toes. Damp socks and shoes encourage the growth of this fungus.
Signs and symptoms of Athlete’s foot usually include a scaly red rash that causes itching, stinging, and burning. Athletes’ feet spread easily. You can get it by sharing mats, rugs, bed linens, clothes or shoes with someone who has a fungal infection or from walking barefoot in areas where the infection can be spread such as locker rooms, saunas, pools, communal baths and showers.
Prevention is the best treatment
Protect your feet: Wear flip flops or shower shoes around public pools and showers.
Keep your feet dry: Be sure to dry well between your toes after a bath or shower. Keep your socks dry – if your feet are sweaty or wet from being outside, change your socks.
No lotion between your toes: When putting lotion on your feet do not put any between your toes, as this will make a perfect home for an athlete’s foot, making the space between your toes warm and moist and damp. Lotion is fine on the top and bottom of your foot but never between the toes.
Consider your shoes: Alternate your shoes, don’t wear the same pair every day. By switching between pairs of shoes you will allow them to dry out between wearings. Damp shoes can encourage the growth of fungi. If you are being treated for athletes feet be sure to treat your shoes as well to prevent reinfection. Never share shoes!
Treating Athlete's foot
Most cases of Athlete’s foot can be treated at home with over the counter antifungal powder, cream or spray. If you have the symptoms, ask your pharmacist for their recommendation. Be sure to keep your feet clean and dry. Symptoms usually clear up after recommended treatment.