Athlete’s foot is an extremely common condition that impacts millions of Americans. Unfortunately, many people don’t know how to recognize the problem — let alone how to treat it.
Luckily, we at Foot + Ankle Specialty Centers want to provide you with a list of the four easy-to-spot symptoms as well as a little information on athlete’s foot and how to treat it. Our providers — Payam Sarraf, DPM; Kate Kennedy, DPM; Katy Statler, DPM; Andrew Goodeill, DPM; Christopher Van Damme, DPM; Amelia Harris, DPM; and Sina Safar, DPM — know that athlete’s foot, while treatable, is extremely uncomfortable. That’s why we want to help you get rid of it quickly.
First, we want to answer the most basic question. Do you have to be an athlete or someone who exercises a lot to get athlete’s foot? The answer is no. People can get athlete’s foot in many ways, as it is caused by a fungal infection.
Infected skin cells or damp areas where fungi live spread athlete’s foot. Communal showers, swimming pools, and locker rooms are where the fungus is most commonly found. However, you can also experience the issue if you:
Certain chronic conditions make people more susceptible to athlete’s foot, including diabetes, eczema, or weakened immunity. Men and people 60 and older are also more likely to develop this condition. As it is very contagious, 70% of the population will experience this issue at some point in their lives.
Being able to recognize athlete’s foot early in its development is essential. The infection can spread if it is not treated early, and it can lead to significant side effects. That is why you’ll want to look for the four most common symptoms of the condition.
In most cases, athlete’s foot starts between the toes, as that area is sometimes forgotten when washing up after a workout or a long day. Also, moisture can easily get trapped there without you noticing. At first, the skin will become soft and turn off-white, but after a few days, it will crack and peel.
For some people, the issue spreads from between the toes to the bottoms and sides of the feet. It can also spread to the tops of the feet depending on the situation. The color and feel of the skin will clearly indicate that something is wrong.
In many cases, the skin on the feet becomes itchy. Some people don’t experience this symptom, but most do. It’s essential to get treatment right away if you think you have athlete’s foot because you can spread it by scratching the skin.
When athlete’s foot isn’t treated right away, blisters can form. They can be quite painful, especially if they occur between the toes or on the bottoms of the feet. These blisters are usually filled with fluid and may turn into open sores.
Though not as common as some other symptoms, when athlete’s foot affects the toenails, you’ll see it. It can make the toenails yellow and brittle as well as pull away from the nailbed. If you begin to notice these symptoms, you’ll likely be dealing with some of the others as well.
If you notice the symptoms listed above, you probably have athlete’s foot. Usually, over-the-counter treatments can help. However, if your symptoms don’t subside after 1-2 weeks of using a topical ointment, it’s time to seek professional help.
At our clinics, you can receive a powerful medication that will treat your persistent athlete’s foot. Still, it is common for the condition to recur, so you’ll need to take good care of your feet by keeping them clean and dry, changing your socks often, and airing out your shoes.
We want to help you treat your persistent athlete’s foot. Contact us at one of our five Arizona locations or request an appointment online.