If you’ve spent any time in a locker room or playing sports, you have probably heard of athlete’s foot. This fungal infection of the skin is highly contagious and, and in some cases, may spread to the skin of the hands. Although athlete’s foot is not a serious skin condition, it be difficult to resolve. Your dermatologist at Piedmont Plastic Surgery & Dermatology can put together a treatment plan that can help your feet regain their health.

What is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin caused by the tinea pedis fungi. This infection typically begins between the toes, where fungi can grow quickly due to the increased moisture in the environment. Like its name, athlete’s foot often develops in athletes who wear shoes and socks which become soaked with sweat during vigorous activities such as sports play or workouts.

What are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is characterized by red, scaly rash between the toes that causes discomfort. It often begins with the telltale itching associated with fungal infections, which can be accompanied by:

  • Blisters
  • Ulcers
  • Flaky or scaly skin
  • A burning sensation between the toes
  • Dry skin on the feet
  • Toenails lifting from the nailbed
  • Cracking or peeling of the skin on the feet

How is Athlete’s Foot Treated?

In less severe cases of athlete’s foot, your dermatologist may suggest that you treat your infection with over-the-counter anti-fungal creams, ointments, or powders. If your infection does not respond to OTC methods, prescription strength anti-fungal creams or lotions may be necessary. The most severe cases may be treated by an oral anti-fungal medication.

How Can I Prevent Athlete’s Foot?

In order to prevent athlete’s foot from forming, you should be sure to maintain excellent hygiene of your feet, especially during vigorous exercise. Avoid contact with other people’s towels, shoes, or socks. Take a pair of shower footwear to use in gym locker rooms to prevent contamination. You should look for socks made of breathable natural fibers, or synthetics developed to wick sweat away from the skin.