Have Athlete’s Foot? Here’s What You Need to Know

There are various foot conditions that benefit from home care, but it is important to know when to seek professional treatment here at The Kansas Foot Center. A clear example of this is athlete’s foot. The common fungal infection certainly comes with irritating symptoms, but we have some good news in that athlete’s foot treatment is often quite effective. There are also many things you can do to prevent the infection in the first place.

Athlete’s Foot Causes and Symptoms

This particular condition is a fungal infection. The fungus is easily transferred to your foot via contact with either a contaminated surface or an infected individual. The responsible microorganisms can frequently be found in warm and damp environments—indoor pool decks, locker room floors, communal showering areas, and even human feet—or living on materials that made contact with them. Towels, socks, and shoes are often contaminated by an individual who has the fungal infection.

Although there are other symptoms, the main sign of athlete’s foot is an itching, burning sensation. Most cases are further accompanied by a scaly, red rash, and the symptoms typically begin between the toes and then spread across other areas of the foot. Some additional symptoms to know include blisters, chronic dryness, and even ulcers, all of which are more commonly seen in severe infections.

The infection is sometimes mistaken for eczema or dry skin, due to similar symptoms between these conditions. For a definitive answer to what ails you, be sure to schedule an appointment with one of our Kansas offices and we can provide a professional diagnosis for you.

Risk Factors

This is a very common infection caused by a highly-contagious fungus, which means anyone with feet has the potential risk of contracting it, but this condition does tend to be seen more often in men than women. In addition to gender, other risk factors include:

  • A weakened immune system with an impaired ability to fight off the fungal infection.
  • Frequently walking in gym showering areas and locker rooms, or on indoor pool decks without adequate foot protection.
  • Frequent wearing ill-fitting or tight shoes—particularly ones not made from materials that allow the feet to breathe—and damp socks.
  • Exposure to items—socks, shoes, rugs, mats, towels, and even bed linens—contaminated by an infected individual.

Treating Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot can be rather irritating and even painful in some more severe cases, but at least it is normally treated effectively with over-the-counter antifungal products (sprays, powders, ointments). When using these products, be sure to follow all of the instructions carefully. Symptoms might clear up before the infection is completely treated, so you may need to continue using the product for some time.

Mild cases typically benefit from at-home athlete’s foot treatment, but severe infections (or ones not responding to over-the-counter products) will likely need professional care from The Kansas Foot Center. We can prescribe strong oral and/or topical medications to eradicate the infection.

Preventing Athlete’s Foot

Some of the best ways to prevent a case of athlete’s foot include:

  • Keep your feet dry. Completely dry your feet before putting on your socks after a bath or shower. Give special attention to making sure the areas between your toes are dry when doing so. Unless you live with diabetes, walk barefoot at home to let the feet breathe. Also, change your socks if they become wet.
  • Choose the right footwear. Socks with moisture-wicking properties and shoes made out of materials that allow feet to breathe will promote dryness for your feet, thereby depriving fungus of the moisture it needs to survive.
  • Protect your feet. While in the gym locker room or on a pool deck, wear shower shoes or sandals to keep your feet safe.
  • Use antifungal products. These are great for treatment, but antifungal spray or powder can be used daily in footwear and on feet to lower the risk of an infection.

Professional Athlete’s Foot Treatment at The Kansas Foot Center

Many cases of athlete’s foot can be treated at home, but severe and stubborn infections might require professional treatment. When this is the case, contact The Kansas Foot Center and our medical staff will provide the effective care you need. For additional information, simply give us a call at (316) 283-4330 or request your appointment online for our office Wichita, Newton, or Emporia, KS today.

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