What is Athlete’s Foot?

by | Nov 1, 2019 | Skin Care

You don’t have to be an athlete to get athlete’s foot. You can get athlete’s foot without doing any physical activity at all!

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a collective term for a fungus that grows on your feet. It usually happens when someone has sweaty feet and has been wearing tight-fitting shoes for an extended period. The fungus that causes it is the same one that causes jock itch and ringworm.

Athletes most often get this fungus, but if it was hot or your shoes were very tight, you could also get it. That’s because fungus thrives in warm, humid conditions.

It is also highly contagious. So even if you did not wear tightly-fitting shoes or sweat a lot, you could still have caught it from someone else. The fungus can spread from contaminated clothing, towels, or floors. This is one of the reasons you should always wear shoes in shared bathrooms and showers.

Other ways you can get it without wearing tight-fitting shoes include catching it from another member of your household and walking barefoot at swimming pools.

How Do I Know if It’s Athlete’s Foot?

There are a few symptoms of athlete’s foot. Generally, the fungus begins between the toes, causing a scaly, red rash. You might notice the most itching when you take your socks off. Sometimes athlete’s foot features dry skin and can be mistaken for eczema. Some kinds of fungus can cause ulcers or blisters on your feet.

You might get athlete’s foot on one foot or both. It can spread from one foot to the other or even to your hands.

What to Do About Athlete’s Foot

Many times, athlete’s foot can be treated with simple over-the-counter antifungal ointments. However, if the rash does not improve within about two weeks of getting antifungal medication, you should see your dermatologist.

Your dermatologist may recommend prescription antifungal medications to put on your feet. Sometimes a very severe case of athlete’s foot will require oral antifungal pills.

If you have diabetes, it is essential to see your doctor right away, as your immune system may not be as strong. It is especially important to see a doctor if you notice any signs of infection, which could be dangerous for you.


There are a few ways you can prevent getting athlete’s foot and from spreading it to others.

  • Use antifungal powder on your feet every day. This can help treat and prevent it from coming back.
  • Wear different shoes every day. Shoes need a few days to dry between uses completely, especially in warmer weather. If you can’t wait to wear the shoes again, you can place some cornstarch in each shoe to help absorb it. Then vacuum it out.
  • Wear well-ventilated shoes. Allowing your feet to breathe will help keep them as dry as possible while you are wearing closed-toed shoes.
  • Change your socks frequently. You should never wear socks twice, and in some cases, you may even need to change them more than once a day.
  • Keep your feet as dry as possible. Go barefoot or wear sandals as much as you can so your feet have a chance to stay dry. After you shower, you should dry your feet and in between your toes.

While non-athletes can get athlete’s foot, there are ways of treating it and preventing it. The good news is it can generally be treated at home. If it is more severe, prescription medications will usually help it clear up. For more dermatology questions or concerns, please visit our website or call 402-423-1111!

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