There are certain foot conditions that can benefit from home care, but it is important to know when it is time to seek professional assistance here at Richardson Podiatry Associates. A prime example of this is a common fungal infection that causes irritating symptoms like tingling and rash, but there is good news in the fact that athlete’s foot treatment is often effective and can help prevent the infection in the first place.
Athlete’s Foot Causes and Symptoms
We’ve already noted that this condition is an infection. It is caused by the same type of fungus that leads to jock itch and ringworm. This type is easily transferred to a human foot either through contact with an infected individual or with a contaminated surface. The offensive microorganisms can often be found in warm, humid environments—human feet, locker room floors, indoor pool decks, and communal showering areas—or residing on materials that has touched them. Socks, shoes, and towels are often contaminated by someone who has the fungal infection.
While there are other athlete’s foot symptoms, the main one is the itching, burning sensation it causes. This can be accompanied by a scaly, red rash, and the symptoms usually begin between the toes before spreading across the foot. Some of the other signs include blisters, chronic dryness, and even ulcers, all of which are more typical for severe infections.
This infection can be mistaken for dry skin or eczema, which have similar symptoms. If you are unsure what is affecting your feet, schedule an appointment with our Richardson, TX podiatrist office and we can diagnose it for you.
Anyone with feet has a potential risk of contracting this common fungal infection, but the condition is more often seen in men. Besides gender, some of the other risk factors include:
- Frequent wearing of tight-fitting shoes—particularly models that do not allow the feet to breathe—and damp socks.
- A weakened immune system that has an impaired ability to fight the infection.
- Walking in gym locker rooms, showering areas, and on indoor pool decks without adequate protection.
- Exposure to items—rugs, mats, towels, socks, shoes, and even bed linens—contaminated by an infected individual.
Treating Cases of Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot can be irritating and even cause pain in some cases, but at least it is often treated effectively with over-the-counter antifungal products (powders, sprays, ointments). When you use one of these products, make sure to follow the instructions carefully. Symptoms may clear up before the infection is completely treated.
Whereas mild cases that are caught early typically benefit from athlete’s foot treatment at home, severe infections or ones that do not respond to over-the-counter products will likely need professional care. We can prescribe oral and/or topical medications that are stronger and will work.
Athlete’s Foot Prevention
Some of the top methods for preventing athlete’s foot are:
- Keep your feet dry. Make sure your feet are completely dry before putting on your socks after a shower or bath. Give special attention to the areas between your toes when doing so. Unless you have diabetes, walk barefoot at home to let the feet breathe and change socks that become wet.
- Choose the right footwear. Socks with moisture-wicking properties and shoes constructed from materials that allow feet to breathe help promote dryness and deprive fungus of the moisture it needs to survive.
- 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 re-infection.
- Protect your feet. While in the gym locker room or on a pool deck, wear shower shoes or sandals to keep your feet safe.
Professional Athlete’s Foot Treatment in Richardson, TX
Most cases of athlete’s foot can be treated on your own, but severe, stubborn infections can require professional treatment. When this is the case, simply contact Richardson Podiatry Associates and we can provide the care you need. For additional information, give our Richardson, TX podiatrist office a call at (972) 690-5374 or schedule your appointment online today.