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Athlete’s Foot

Even though athlete’s foot is a common condition shared by athletes of every ilk, it’s a condition that anyone can develop. The fungus that causes the red, itchy rashes on your feet love damp, dark conditions — it thrives in steam rooms, swimming pool walkways and locker room floors. Athlete’s foot is highly contagious, and if it’s left untreated, it can turn into a serious skin condition that makes your feet even more susceptible to further infections and sores. Don’t hesitate. Call podiatry in Clifton, New Jersey today to get the best athlete’s foot treatment and advice on how to prevent future attacks.

If you have an itchy, burning rash between your toes or on your feet, you may have a very common condition called athlete’s foot. Also called tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is a highly contagious rash caused by a fungus that’s frequently found on floors or in clothing. It’s commonly passed around in fitness center locker rooms and public showers.

Athlete’s foot can be very uncomfortable. It usually affects the skin on your feet, but it sometimes spreads to your toenails and hands. If you think you have athlete’s foot, visit Dr. Velimir Petkov at Premier Podiatry. Clifton, New Jersey foot doctor can answer your questions about how to cure athlete’s foot while providing you with a host of treatment options.

The Telltale Signs of Athlete’s Foot

Symptoms of athlete’s foot usually start with the appearance of a scaly red rash. When you first remove your shoes and socks, your itching may intensify. The skin affected may be dry, itchy, peeling or flaky.

This condition can attack one or both feet. Resist the urge to scratch, as scratching the rash can cause it to spread. Sometimes, especially if you’ve scratched, the affected skin cracks, resulting in swelling, oozing of pus, crusting or blisters. Some types of athlete’s foot cause chronic dry skin or scaling on the sides or soles of the feet, which may be mistaken for other skin conditions, such as eczema.


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Athlete’s Foot Causes

The same type of fungus that causes jock itch or ringworm causes athlete’s foot. This fungus grows rapidly in warm and humid conditions. The dampness inside shoes provides an environment that encourages the growth of athlete’s foot fungus. When the fungus rubs off on your socks, it re-infects your feet if you wear them again.

You can get athlete’s foot from contaminated surfaces or by coming into direct contact with someone who has it. Shoes, locker room floors and the area around public swimming pools — especially indoor pools — are places where this fungus is frequently found. You don’t have to avoid these places; just protect yourself when you go.

What Increases the Risk of Developing Athlete’s Foot?

Everyone is at risk of developing athlete’s foot, but your risks of getting the condition increase when you:

  •  Wear tight shoes.
  • Walk barefoot in damp areas, such as pools, public showers and locker rooms.
  • Wear damp socks or have wet feet for long periods of time.
  • Share towels, socks or shoes with an infected person.

When you’re frequently in a damp environment — such as a sauna, pool or locker room — wear waterproof sandals to protect your feet. If you do have a rash, avoid scratching it. It’s easier to lower your risk of developing a fungal infection than to look for an athlete’s foot cure. Prevention steps include:

  • Wash your feet frequently with soap and water.
  • Dry your feet and toes thoroughly before putting on your shoes and socks.
  • Wash towels and linens regularly.
  • Avoid sharing these items.
  • Change your socks often.

Athlete’s Foot Treatment Options

Athlete’s foot mimics a range of other conditions, such as psoriasis and even gout. It’s always a good idea to get any type of foot infection checked out by a specialist to reduce the odds of developing serious complications. You need a definitive diagnosis to get the proper treatment. The best treatment for athlete’s foot is to keep your feet dry and use an antifungal cream, powder, ointment or spray, as suggested by your podiatrist.

Severe infections may need treatment with oral antifungal pills or prescription-strength topical medication. If you’ve also developed a bacterial infection, Dr. Petkov may prescribe oral antibiotics. There are several prescription-strength medications to choose from, and your NJ podiatrist determines your best cure for athlete’s foot based on an exam and blood tests, if needed.

When to See a Doctor

Athlete’s foot can be very uncomfortable and sometimes painful. If you’re an athlete, it may affect your performance. If you have a rash on your feet or toes that hasn’t responded to improved hygiene or over-the-counter medication, consult a best rated podiatrist Clifton in the field of podiatry like Dr. Petkov. It’s especially important if you have other health conditions, such as a diabetic foot or a suppressed immune system.

Athlete’s Foot Q & A

What causes athlete’s foot?

Usually caused by a fungal invader, athlete’s foot is one of the most common foot infections among both men and women. Athlete’s foot-causing organisms thrive in damp, dark, and warm environments. This is why that close-knit area between your toes is so perfect.

Because athlete’s foot is so contagious, you generally become infected by:

  • Walking barefoot in a communal area, like a locker room or pool deck
  • Sharing socks or shoes with an infected person
  • Regularly wearing sweaty socks and shoes

Plus, if you have athlete’s foot on one foot, you can easily spread it to your other foot — or even other areas of your body — through touch.

How do I know if I have athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is known for causing an uncomfortable rash between your toes, although the condition can easily affect other areas of your feet, too. If you have athlete’s foot, you’re probably going to experience:

  • Scaling, itching, or dry skin
  • Inflammation or swelling
  • Blisters that may crack and ooze

These symptoms can linger all day, although they’re usually more severe after taking off your socks and shoes after a workout. The worse athlete’s foot becomes, the rawer your skin gets — especially if you scratch or pick at it. Because athlete’s foot won’t go away on its own, you need to head in to Premier Podiatry for an effective clinical-grade treatment at the first sign.

What is the treatment for athlete’s foot?

Dr. Petkov understands how unbearably painful athlete’s foot can be, especially if you’re an exercise enthusiast or athlete and it starts affecting your performance. Some of the most effective athlete’s foot solutions he offers include:

  • Topical antifungal medication
  • Oral antifungal pills
  • Anti-itch creams or powders

Occasionally, athlete’s foot is caused by bacteria, rather than fungus. Over-the-counter treatments and antifungal remedies won’t work if this is the case. Dr. Petkov thoroughly evaluates your case of athlete’s foot to get to the cause and if bacteria is the culprit, he can prescribe antibiotics.

Don’t ignore athlete’s foot, especially if it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Doing so can lead to complications such as cracked skin, which increases your risk of developing a bacterial infection or painful blisters. Get in touch with Premier Podiatry so Dr. Petkov can evaluate your condition and get you started on the best athlete’s foot treatment.

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