What is Athlete’s Foot and how can it be treated?

Athlete’s Foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that affects about 12% of the population. Contrary to its name, Athlete’s Foot can strike anyone. It is common in both adults and children.

Athlete’s Foot may appear on any part of the foot but is most common between the toes (especially between the 4th and 5th toes) and on the bottom of the foot.  The skin can appear to look moist or dry with redness, scaling, and blisters.  The skin can also become very itchy and in some cases cause burning.  The skin can also have a shine to it underneath the dryness or moisture.  Athlete’s foot can affect one or both feet.  It can start on one foot and easily spread to the other if not contained.  Those who are susceptible to athlete’s foot often have recurring episodes.

What you can do:
It is important to wash and dry your feet thoroughly on a daily basis.  Once you have dried your feet you can apply some foot power to help absorb moisture.  There are over-the-counter anti-fungal medications that are effective when used according to the manufactures’ instructions.  If these products fail to work, there are prescription anti-fungal medications that can be prescribed by your foot specialist.

It is important to wear shoes that are made out of natural materials such as leather or canvas.  This allows moisture to escape from the shoes.  Running shoes with a mesh upper also help the foot breath better.  Wearing socks made out of cotton or bamboo also helps to absorb moisture from the feet.

Changing shoes and socks regularly helps to prevent athlete’s foot.   Spraying the inside of the shoes with an anti-fungal spray will help to get rid of fungus inside the shoe and prevent the spread from the shoes on to the skin.  Lastly, avoid walking barefoot in public places.  Keeping your feet protected will reduce the risk of contracting athlete’s foot.

If you have any further questions regarding athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, please contact Ontario Foot and Orthotics at 519-623-3000 in Cambridge or 905-878-6479 in Milton. Visit us online at www.ontariofoot.ca.