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Foot Health: Fall sports are in full swing, remember locker rooms provide ideal conditions for foot fungus

By Dr. Jamie Settles Carter
Special to KyForward

Fall is in full swing and many teens are busy with sports. They’ve all been told to not walk barefoot in a locker room because of the dangers of Athlete’s Foot and other funguses that consider the dark, warm and moist environment their happy place… but it might be time to go over it one more time with them.

Just walking barefoot on contaminated locker room floors, showering in public showers and especially sharing shoes with someone who has contracted Athlete’s Foot all can lead to some itchy feet…and more…like warts and other infections.

Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot

• When feet are exposed to infections, such as Athlete’s foot, it is common for the skin around and between your toes to itch and even sometimes burn, crack, blister or become infected.

• In some cases, the skin around your heel and the bottom of your foot could thicken and crack too.

How Should I Treat Athlete’s Foot?

Don’t panic! There are treatments for Athlete’s Foot that are available in the form of topical antifungals, however, it is easily avoidable by remembering to always wear shoes in the locker room, and always keep your feet clean and dry.

If your feet sweat a lot during the day, it’s worth switching to a dry pair of socks at lunchtime. No joke. Bamboo socks are fantastic for their moisture-wicking properties.

Will Athlete’s Foot Come Back?

Unfortunately, someone that has encountered Athlete’s Foot is at a higher risk of repeated outbreaks.

In some cases, the itching and burning could keep coming back. If you have had Athlete’s Foot for some time and the over-the-counter treatments are not working, then it is time to go in for an appointment and get prescription strength topicals.

Your Podiatrist will also check your toenails…your foot fungus can spread to your toenails. In the same way, your toenail fungus could spread to your feet and cause thickening of the nails and a yellow discoloration, both leaving the nails to start to flake or crumble.

You have to be really diligent and that’s why we suggest going to your Podiatrist at the onset. You can even spread the fungus to your groin area. If you start to notice a reddened area of skin that spreads out from the crease in the groin onto the upper thigh, this is what we call “Jock itch”. Jock itch is in the same family of fungi that cause Athlete’s Foot and can be passed by using the same towels or clothes.

So, if you’re suffering from itchy feet, don’t delay treatment. It’s not worth a long treatment process and a Podiatrist can nip it in the bud quickly!


Dr. Jamie Settles Carter is a Podiatrist and partner at Lexington Podiatry

For more Foot Health columns, click here.

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