Athlete’s Foot – What is it and why should you care?

Athlete’s foot, aka tinea pedis (tin-ee-ah pee-dis), is a type of fungal infection between and under toes, and on the soles of feet. It most often begins between the 4th & 5th toes, and appears as itchy or tender cracks.  If left untended, athlete’s foot can spread to all toes and onto the sole of feet.  If it has spread to the soles, it will look like peeling patches of skin.  Additionally, untreated athlete’s foot can spread to the toenails to create thickened, yellowed crumbling toenails, which can be very difficult to get rid of.  Fungal infections on feet are more than cosmetic problems; they can translate to fungal issues inside the body, which is never a good thing. 

The best thing to do when noticing any itchy cracks between toes is to treat it immediately.  Don’t leave it for later, thinking that a small crack is benign.  It most certainly isn’t!

What to do about athlete’s foot

There are a number of things that can be done to help reduce the development and spread of athlete’s foot. First, ensure your feet are well dried after becoming wet for whatever reason; washing, swimming, perspiring, etc. Fungus adores a warm, dark, moist environment, so keeping your feet dry is vital.  If reaching your feet is a problem, watch a tutorial here to learn how to use household items to help.  Be sure to wash/change the facecloth daily.  When your feet are nice and dry, apply a medicated foot powder or spray of your choice to between and under your toes.  Don’t use baby powder or corn starch, as these aren’t intended to treat athlete’s foot, and tend to clump when they get wet, i.e. perspired on.  You can find medicated foot powder/spray at any pharmacy; speak with your pharmacist if you’re unsure which product is best for you. In case you want a comprehensive help to take care of your feet, contact our St. Catharines foot clinic

Next steps

Next up, clean, dry socks.  It’s pointless to put sweaty (fungus) socks back on your feet when they’re now nice and fresh! 

If you find your feet perspiring at work, why not try to keep a fresh, clean pair of socks and an extra can of foot powder/spray in your duffle/work bag, and when you’re on a break, take a couple minutes and freshen up your feet?Don’t worry about what people think – who knows – you might even start a trend! Odds are, you’re not the only one at your work who’s dealing with athlete’s foot! 

And while you’re treating your feet so nicely, be sure to remember your footwear – if there’s fungus between and under your toes, it’s most certainly in your shoes.  Look for a spray that treats fungus safely in footwear.  If you can, expose as much of your shoes as possible to some sunlight; fungus hates sunlight!  Cleaning your sheets and your shower more often will also help to reduce the spread of athlete’s foot fungus.  

For advanced cases of athlete’s foot

If your athlete’s foot is quite involved, a visit to your physician is called for.  There are prescription creams that can be used to treat advanced foot fungus.  The trouble with this is that putting cream between your toes adds moisture to a location which really doesn’t like to be wet.  So treating athlete’s foot in its most early stages is super-important! 

Treating athlete’s foot is a great example of where an ounce of prevention really does beat a pound of cure.  Keep your feet nice and dry, wear clean, dry socks, treat your sheets, shoes and shower, and use medicated foot powder/spray every day. When the fungus looks gone, keep treating your feet.  Those microscopic fungal spores can still be lurking in a dark crevice somewhere.

Where athlete’s foot is concerned, an ounce of prevention wins the day.  






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