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Battling Athlete’s Foot

How to battle athlete’s foot from our Dallas Emergency Room Physicians.The first reported cases of Athlete’s Foot were shortly after our soldiers came home from World War I. Athlete’s Foot is very common now, with about 70% of people getting it at some point in their lives. And you don’t have to be an athlete to get it.

The itching and burning rash from Athlete’s Foot is caused by a fungus. The fungus grows in warm moist places such as the skin between the toes. The skin develops scaling and itching, and may crack open.

The name of the condition changes depending on what part of the body is infected. For example, the same fungus infection is known as “Jock Itch” when it is located in the groin area.

How do you get it?

You can get Athlete’s Foot by touching someone’s infected feet. But more often it is picked up by walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces such as around swimming pools or in locker rooms. You can get it from contact with contaminated towels, shoes or socks. The fungus can then grow and spread on the skin of your feet.

Simple Tips to Help Prevent Athlete’s Foot:

  1. Keep your feet dry.Wear shower shoes or sandals when in areas like locker rooms.
  2. Wear shoes made of materials that can “breathe” rather than occlusive shoes.
  3. Go barefoot when you can.
  4. Avoid sharing shoes, such as with hand-me-downs or bowling ally rental shoes.
  5. Dust the insides of your shoes and socks with talcum powder or Desenex to help to decrease the moisture level.
  6. Alternate wearing different pairs of shoes so they can dry out for a couple of days at a time.
  7. Remove insoles from your shoes and sneakers to dry them out over night.
  8. Wear clean, absorbent cotton socks and change them during the day if your feet sweat.
  9. Clean the surfaces of bathtubs, showers, and bathroom floors with chlorine bleach to kill the fungus.
  10. Avoid sharing towels, especially damp ones.
  11. Most cases of Athlete’s Foot can be treated at home with over-the-counter preparations. But if you develop a severe case then you may need to see your doctor for prescription medicine. It can be treated with topical medicine, oral medicine, or both. Be sure to take the full course of treatment so the rash won’t come right back.

Topical preparations for Athlete’s Foot include: clotrimazole (Lotrimin), ketoconazole (Nizoral), terbinafine (Lamisil), ciclopirox (Loprox), and naftifine (Naftin).

Severe Athlete’s Foot infections may require oral medications, such as: fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox), or terbinafine (Lamisil).

Athlete’s Foot rarely becomes a serious medical problem. But if you have diabetes or an immune system disease it may progress into a bacterial infection that needs treatment with antibiotics. If you think you have Athlete’s Foot but it is worsening or not going away then be sure to see your doctor.