If you participate in sports, either professionally or as a leisurely pastime, you may be affected at some time or another with a condition known as athlete's foot. Athlete's foot is an infection that begins with an overgrowth of fungus. It may cause an itchy rash between toes that forms blisters or peeling of the skin. This type of fungal infection is common among athletes, especially runners. There are ways to avoid this condition, such as keeping the feet dry and wearing shoes and socks that allow moisture to be wicked away. Whether you are looking for ways to prevent athlete's foot or smart ways to treat the condition, it's a good idea to follow a few simple dos and dont's. Here is what you should - and should not - be doing:
1. DO Keep Your Feet Dry
Because this fungus thrives in a damp environment, keeping your feet dry may help prevent an outbreak. A simple way to do so is to thoroughly dry your feet after showering, swimming, or exercising. In addition, you might want to use a medicated powder on your feet to prevent perspiration.
Another way of keeping your feet dry is by choosing shoes and socks that allow your feet to "breathe." Choose sneakers or running shoes with a mesh type material that allow air flow. Wear cotton socks or those made with a specially designed moisture-wicking material.
2. DON'T Forget to Wash Your Hands After Touching Your Infected Foot
Athlete's foot is caused by a similar organism that causes jock itch. If you have athlete's foot, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid spreading the condition to the groin area.
3. DO Use Caution Around Shared Areas
Be cautious about walking barefooted in locker rooms. If you plan on using a public swimming pool, wear sandals or flip-flops when walking around the pool area. Also, if a family member or housemate has athlete's foot, don't share towels, linens, or shower mats.
4. DON'T Wear Shoes That Are Too Tight
Wearing shoes that are too tight or ill-fitting can cause may issues, including athlete's foot. If you tend to stand on your feet a lot or you participate in sports, be sure you wear properly fitted shoes. It's a good idea to have your feet measured, as the size of your feet may change somewhat with age. Test your shoes out by walking in them before you buy them.
5. DO Try an Over-the-Counter Preparation or Home Remedy For Athlete's Foot
If you are affected with athlete's foot, don't ignore the problem and simply hope it will go away on its own. By doing nothing, your condition may worsen or blisters may develop and become infected. To help clear up the infection, try an over-the-counter medicated anti-fungal cream or foot spray. You might also want to try a few simple home remedies that may improve the condition and relieve your symptoms.
Apply a light dusting of cornstarch on your affected foot or feet. Do this after showering and before putting on your socks and shoes. The cornstarch will keep your feet dry and comfortable and help prevent further irritation. You might also try soaking your feet in a solution of distilled water and hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide tends to act as an anti-microbial agent, killing off organisms that cause infection. Alternatively, try soaking your feet in a mixture of apple cider vinegar and warm water.
Some individuals also find relief by applying a few drops of organic tea tree oil between the toes. You can apply the oil using a cotton ball or a cotton swab. Neem oil may be used as an alternative.
6. DON'T Scratch Your Infected Feet
Although athlete's foot tends to be quite itchy, don't scratch the affected area. Doing so may not only spread the infection, but it may also cause your foot to bleed or blisters to pop, leaving the area open to infection.
7. DO See a Podiatrist If the Above Methods Fail to Work
If you do not find results by trying the above methods, or if your condition worsens, make an appointment with a podiatrist. A foot doctor may prescribe a specially formulated topical preparation. Additionally, you may be given prescription antibiotics if your doctor finds it necessary.
For more information, talk with a podiatrist or visit professional websites like http://www.elmhurstpodiatry.com.