Scratching Below the Surface of Athlete’s Foot

Let’s face it, itchy feet are not fun. They not only get in the way of participating in activities that you enjoy, but they can also be bothersome when you just want to sit back and relax. When you have athlete’s foot, as tempting as it may be, don’t scratch!  That will just makes it worse, and can even make it spread. So what’s a person to do? Podiatry Associates, P.C. can help!

The Dreaded Rash

Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal skin infection out there. Despite its name it can happen to anyone, especially those who tend to have sweaty feet. Also known as tinea pedis, this condition is characterized by a scaly rash that can itch, sting, burn, and even peel or crack.  It typically appears between your toes, but is highly contagious, and spreads easily. Variations include:

  • Toe Web—This usually occurs between the fourth and fifth toes, and has a risk of bacterial infection which can break down the skin even more.

  • Moccasin—Initial soreness is a sign of this condition, followed by a thickening and cracking of the skin on the bottom of your foot, specifically your heel. It can also spread to your toenails causing them to thicken and crumble.

  • Vesicular—Begins with a sudden outbreak of blisters under your foot, but the fluid-filled bubbles can appear anywhere on it. There is also a risk of bacterial infection.

Typically, a podiatrist can diagnose which type you have by simply looking at your foot, but sometimes your foot will be viewed under a black light, or a skin sample may be taken and sent to a lab for verification.

Fighting the Fungi

Warm, damp, and humid places are a favorite hide out for this fungus. The condition got its name because athletes spend so much time in confined, sweaty shoes, and also tend to frequent locker rooms, public showers, and pools—all similar environments where fungi thrive. Clearly, it’s not just athletes who are at risk. If you finally take off those sweaty, snug shoes, then walk around barefoot on surfaces such as these, you’re increasing your chances to pick up the fungal infection, and worse, spread it. Stop the madness!

Wear moisture-wicking socks and proper fitting shoes, and never go barefoot in public areas.  It’s also a good idea to alternate the shoes you wear to allow them time to air out, and make sure they are made of breathable materials. Change your socks as often as it takes to keep them dry, and refrain from sharing towels or footwear. You might also want to be pro-active and sprinkle some anti-fungal powder on your feet or in your shoes. Remember, once you get athlete’s foot, chances are you will get it again.

Treating your Feet

If the fungus finds you despite your attempts to escape it, treatments typically entail over-the-counter antifungal lotions, ointments, powders or spray. If these don’t work, you may need prescription-strength medication or require antifungal pills taken orally.

If you fear the fungus of athlete’s foot, Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen and the team can help. Call (303) 805-5156 to make an appointment at Podiatry Associates, P.C. in Castle Pines, Cherry Creek, or Parker, CO.

Dr. Cynthia Oberholtzer-Classen, DPM
Founder and Owner of Podiatry Associates, PC