Treating Athlete’s Foot: Are You At Risk?

Athlete’s foot is an unpleasant fungal infection characterized by itching, stinging, and burning between the toes and/or soles of the feet. Itchy blisters, cracking and peeling skin, excessive dryness and thick discolored toenails are all signs of athlete’s foot.  It’s one of the common contagious infections that plague many locker rooms and sports teams because of the constant exchange of sweat, showers and contact. It’s closely related to ringworm and jock itch, which all thrive in tight, dark and moist areas. Shoes create the perfect environment for the organism to grow because of damp, sweaty socks, humid conditions and tight warmth laced into the shoe.

Fortunately, most cases of athlete’s foot can be cured with over-the-counter antifungal products and simple good hygiene! Allow feet to get air and exposure, and in cases that you can’t go barefoot make sure you wear cotton socks and shoes that are made from porous material such as canvas. Water-resistance synthetics, such as water shoes, just worsen the infection and help flourish the fungus. If left untreated secondary infections can occur because it creates an optimal environment for bacteria to grow. Fungus can kill off vulnerable bacteria and response the bacteria release substances that can cause tissue breakdown such as soggy skin and painful erosion between the toes.

The following is a list of risk factors:
1. Male
2. Damp socks or tight-fitting shoes
3. Typically pertains to athletes who: share mats, gear or uniforms
4. Shares bed linens, clothes or shoes with someone who has a fungal infection
5. Walks barefoot in fungal-prone public places such as locker rooms, saunas, swimming pools, and communal baths and showers.

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