How to Avoid Athlete’s Foot This Summer

Summer is a great time to release your feet from their winter boots and feel the earth under your feet. Unfortunately, this season comes with some risk as infection-causing fungi lurk in warm, moist environments ready to give you a nasty case of athlete’s foot.

At Foot and Ankle Excellence, under the experienced guidance of Dr. Bruni Leka, our team of podiatric specialists wants to ensure that our Philadelphia-area clients get the most out of these warm months. To that end, we’ve pulled together a few tips for avoiding athlete’s foot, which can wreak havoc on your feet, causing pain and discomfort.

Athlete’s foot 101

To better understand how to avoid athlete’s foot — medically known as tinea pedis — it’s helpful to understand how it develops. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that attacks your toes, forming a red, scaly rash that can lead to a good deal of discomfort and even pain.

The infection is caused by a fungus that thrives in wet, warm environments, and it can spread from one foot to another and even to your hands if you pick at the rash. While athlete’s foot isn’t necessarily dangerous, it can put a serious damper on your summer fun as you deal with an uncomfortable, and unsightly, rash around your toes.

Prevention techniques

Luckily, athlete’s foot is avoidable if you take a few precautionary steps.

Wear shoes

One of the easiest ways to pick up the fungus that causes athlete’s foot is to walk around barefoot in public areas that may be contaminated. Public swimming pools, locker rooms, and showers are hotbeds for athlete’s foot, so always wear a pair of flip-flops or slides in these areas.

And dry socks

The reason athlete’s foot got its name is because the infection often crops up in sports enthusiasts who spend long hours in sweaty socks and sneakers, giving the fungus ample time to take hold. One of the best ways to prevent this is to routinely swap out your socks for clean, dry ones, and never reuse socks that have already sweated it out on the field, court, or track. It also helps if you’ve got well-ventilated foot gear.

Don’t share

Only use your own clean towels when you’re playing sports or at the pool (even your own pool!). The fungus can be spread through shared towels and footwear, so it pays to stick to your own gear. This applies on the home front, too. If you or a family member has athlete’s foot, don’t share socks, towels, or sheets.

Wash and dry

After you know you’ve been in areas that may harbor the fungus, take care to thoroughly wash and dry your feet. While you’re in a wet environment, regularly towel off and dry your feet. These steps are particularly important if you’ve had athlete’s foot before or you have a pre-existing condition like diabetes.

If athlete’s foot sets in

If, despite your best efforts, athlete’s foot takes hold, early intervention is key. Come in at the first signs of the infection so we can take the necessary steps to quickly clear up your athlete’s foot before it spreads.

If you’d like to learn more about athlete’s foot or you suspect you may have the infection, please give us a call or use the easy online scheduling tool to book an appointment.

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