Recognizing and Treating Athlete’s Foot

With school back in session, many of our children will be participating in sports. This can be a perfect time to start looking for signs of athlete’s foot. What is athlete’s foot? Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection of the foot that can be and is usually contagious. It is a common ailment but one that can be treated successfully if caught early enough.

Causes of athlete’s foot include:

  • Sharing socks, shoes, and towels – infection will be spread through contact
  • Damp feet – moisture helps breed the athlete’s foot fungus called trichophyton
  • Walking barefoot in public places – pools, showers, restrooms, and locker rooms
  • Tight, heavy shoes – prevents the drying of feet

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

  • Dry, flaky skin – the fungus will cause the skin to dry
  • Red, itchy skin – may also develop a rash
  • Scaly or cracking skin – skin will peel
  • Blisters – can also become infected

Ways to avoid athlete’s foot include washing your feet with soap and water, consistently drying your feet, wearing dry socks, not sharing socks, shoes, or towels, wearing sandals or flip flops in public places, treating your feet with anti-fungal powders and wearing light and well-ventilated footwear.

If not treated properly, athlete’s foot can spread to the hands and groin. If you suspect you’re developing athlete’s foot, contact your podiatrist who will conduct tests to determine what type of infection or fungus you may have and treat appropriately. While there are over-the-counter treatments, not all will be adequate for your condition.

Treatments include:

  • Topical antifungal medicines
  • Oral antibiotics to treat infections
  • Home treatments can include soaking feet in tea tree oil
  • Soaking feet in a mixture of water and vinegar to treat blisters

If you believe you have or are developing athlete’s foot or have any other concerns about your feet, make an appointment with us at Foot and Ankle Specialists of Central PA. Our doctors Terry H. Clarke, DPM and Karen M. Leonard, DPM will diagnose you and treat you appropriately.  We are located at 4 Flowers Drive, Suite 2, Mechanicsburg, PA, 17050. Our phone number is 717-620-8225.