Athlete’s Foot increases with the start of Athletic seasons.
With Cross Country season (as well as some other fall sports) in full swing and many of our athletes using spikes without socks, it seemed the right time to talk about Athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the foot caused by a microscopic fungus that lives on dead tissue of the hair, toenails, and outer skin layers. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments such as shoes, and the floors of public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools where these athletes are spending their time.
Athlete’s foot is transmitted through contact with a cut or abrasion on the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot. Once on the foot it begins its breeding and spreads on the foot and eventually to others if given the chance.
Signs & Symptoms
The most common form of athlete’s foot symptoms include persistent itching of the skin on the sole of the foot or between the toes (often the fourth and fifth toes). The infection presents itself as raised, circular pimples or blisters. As the infection progresses, the skin grows soft and the center of the infection becomes inflamed and sensitive to the touch. Gradually, the edges of the infected area become milky white and the skin begins to peel. A slight watery discharge also may be present.
Treatment & Prevention
Athlete’s foot infections may disappear spontaneously and can persist for years. They are difficult to treat and often recur. Best results usually are obtained with early treatment before the fungal infection establishes itself firmly. Antifungal drugs may be used to fight the infection. Many over the counter products are available; however, a severe case may warrant a trip to the doctor.
Other forms of prevention are establishing good hygiene habits like using your own personal sandals in public showers, letting your shoes dry well before using them again. Always wear some type of sock in your shoes, even if it is an ultra thin sock. This helps reduce the transmission of the infection to the main breeding ground, that being the inside of the shoes. Never let others use your shoes. Who knows where their feet have been. Finally, change or sterilize all of your shoes once the infection is gone to prevent re-infection from your own footwear.
This is sound advice, but Elite Runners & Walkers suggest you consult your doctor to get the best results.