Let’s bust a myth straight out of the gate: You don’t need to be an athlete to feel the incredible itch of athlete’s foot. It’s a common fungal infection that causes itchy, scaly, burning, stinging, or occasionally cracked skin. A person experiences athlete’s foot when there is a large presence of dermatophytes on the skin. This type of fungi grows in warm, humid conditions, for example, sweaty socks.
Athlete’s foot, ringworm, and jock itch are three closely related fungal infections. More often than not, people treat them with anti-fungal medications, but it’s possible for infection to return. There are also natural remedies to help improve the condition, but some may not work for everyone. It’s time to consult a physician if the condition doesn’t improve within two weeks after beginning self-treatment with either natural remedies or an over-the-counter anti-fungal product. You may also want to consult your doctor if you have diabetes and suspect athlete’s foot. If the foot swells up and you notice redness then see your doctor as well.
Natural remedies and over-the-counter anti-fungal products can alleviate symptoms. Some of these products may help avoid a recurring rash, while others will not work at all. And then there are products that work, but personal habits get in the way of the healing process. If you have athlete’s foot and are on the healing path, avoid these common mistakes that can worsen the condition.
You Wear The Same Shoes Every Day
Everyone has a pair of shoes that they could wear every day, no matter what. One pair of shoes may be as comfortable as a fuzzy pair of house slippers, but those comfy kicks may prevent your athlete’s foot from healing properly. According to medical professionals, wearing the same shoes every day doesn’t allow the inside of the shoes to dry properly between wears. A moist, enclosed environment is not conducive to athlete’s foot, or any fungal condition. Keep the feet and the surfaces that the feet touch clean and dry. Alternate shoes every day, wash sneakers, insoles, and socks regularly, and choose breathable shoes if your feet are prone to sweating.
You Walk Barefoot In Shared Spaces
Some people brave the public spaces with no fear of catching any sort of disease, bacteria, or fungus. Walking barefoot in airplanes, gyms, public pools, locker rooms, or hotel rooms can result in athlete’s foot. Fungus that fosters athlete’s foot may linger on the floor in these areas, according to dermatologists. If you have a break in the skin, walking around barefoot in shared spaces leaves you more susceptible to an infection. A skin break or wound is an invitation for opportunistic pathogens. If you already suffer from athlete’s foot, walking barefoot with broken skin not only spreads the fungus to the floor, but can also lead to secondary bacterial infection. Always wear shoes or flip-flops in shared spaces.
You Moisturize Your Feet
People often mistake dry, cracked skin on the feet for athlete’s foot. It’s possible for athlete’s foot to look scaly on the bottoms of the feet, but it’s also possible to simply experience dry skin. One thing to remember is that fungus feeds off moist environments. If you have athlete’s foot, moisturizing will only worsen the condition and inhibit the healing process. The best thing you can do is ditch the lotion and consider an over-the-counter anti-fungal cream instead. If you can’t distinguish dry skin from athlete’s foot, consider seeing a podiatrist to properly assess the situation.
You Don’t Cut Toenails Often Enough
Believe it or not, this can slow the healing process if you suffer from athlete’s foot. Nailbeds can present the perfect environment for infection, especially if nails are too long. If you don’t cut your toenails, they can break and cause trauma to the nailbed. That can then lead to a deformed toenail, which has an increased risk of bacterial or fungal infection. Keep toenails short in order to prevent fungus from entering under the toenail or surrounding skin. Trim nails just above the white line using clippers.