Athlete’s Foot, which is also known as Tinea Pedis, is a very common skin malady of the feet that happens to everyone at least once in his or her lifetime. The fungus that causes Athlete’s Foot generally thrives in warm and damp areas, around swimming pools or on the floors of locker rooms.
This is contagious as it can be spread from an infected person to the other or while touching contaminated surfaces, clothes, towels and bed sheets, or walking barefoot around moist places.
Fungal infections of the feet have been affecting people for centuries. But they have become more prominent when the use of shoes increased. Athlete’s foot affects more males than females, probably because men generally wear airtight shoes, and the fungus loves such dark and soggy environments.
However, there are several misconceptions associated with Athlete’s Foot. Here in this post, we’ll dispel the most common myths about fungal infection and tell about how to handle them.
Table of Contents
- Myth 1. Athlete’s Foot mainly happens to athletes
- Myth 2. Showering every day can avoid Athlete’s Foot
- Myth 3. Athlete’s Foot only affects the feet
- Myth 4. You will not have Athlete’s Foot if there is not peeling skin between your toes
- Myth 5. Once you treat Athlete’s Foot, it’ll never come back
- Myth 6. You can stop medication once the symptoms disappear
Myth 1. Athlete’s Foot mainly happens to athletes
This certainly is not correct. Athlete’s foot got its name because people who play a lot of sports tend to get it more often because of the conditions they put their feet in. The fungus of this infection generally likes to hang out in wet places, such as showers, gyms and locker rooms. But it is not necessary that only a professional athlete will get this infection. Anyone, whether a man or a woman, with little athletic ability, can get infected by it as well.
What you should do: Wear well-ventilated shoes or flip flops instead of something that create an ideal environment for these little critters to grow.
Myth 2. Showering every day can avoid Athlete’s Foot
You are most likely to get this pesky fungus up when you are taking a shower. This fungus usually grows in the locker rooms and pool showers. No matter how carefully you wash between your toes, only showering won’t help you to clear up the fungus that causes toe web infection.
What you should do: After washing your feet, try to keep them clean and dry, especially between the toes, before wearing shoes to avoid this from coming back. If your feet sweat a lot, make sure to wear something that allows your feet to breath. Also, clean your pair of socks or sneakers, and opt for leather shoes instead of vinyl as leather allows feet to stay dry for long.
Myth 3. Athlete’s Foot only affects the feet
Unfortunately, it can spread to other body parts when you touch them with the infected part or through your towels, sheets or clothes. It can spread to toenails, fingernails, groin area and the skin under your arms. You will also get an infection if you use the soap, socks or shoes of a person who has Athlete’s Foot.
What you should do: Hygiene plays a pivotal role in avoiding or getting rid of this infection. Wash your feet and toe areas carefully, while dry it thoroughly to ensure it won’t come back. Make sure to treat this infection before it reaches to your toenail as treating a toenail infection is more difficult than the skin infections of the foot. In addition, to prevent yourself from re-infection, it is wise to use proper sanitisation and disinfection procedures before using someone else’s products.
Myth 4. You will not have Athlete’s Foot if there is not peeling skin between your toes
It can happen that every other person who has Athlete’s Foot will not show the same signs as you have. Some people find redness and dryness on the bottom of their feet, whereas others feel cracking and peeling skin between their toes.
What you should do: If you are uncertain about what is going on your feet, it is wise to consult a podiatrist or doctor.
Myth 5. Once you treat Athlete’s Foot, it’ll never come back
This is not true. Even after proper medical treatment, Athlete’s Foot can return just like any other bacterial infection. If you are exposed again to any sweaty, wet and warm condition, there are chances that your infection may reappear.
What you should do: To keep your feet stay dry, you can put foot powder in your socks. And wear socks made from natural fibers such as wool or cotton to absorb the sweat.
Myth 6. You can stop medication once the symptoms disappear
If your body shows no symptoms of Athlete’s Foot, it does not mean you are fungus-free. There are chances that the fungi are not completely killed and may recur after some time if you do not take the full course of medicine.
What you should do: It is essential to keep using the medicine or the Athlete’s foot cream or spray for the length of time the doctor prescribed, even if the signs disappear. The full course of treatment not only allows to put an end to all the fungal spores but also avoid the infection from coming back. You should continue taking medicines for at least two weeks after the symptoms have gone to make sure that the infection has been treated effectively.
If you find dry, flaky and itchy rashes on the skin of your foot mainly between the toes, you might have got Athlete’s Foot. The other symptoms of having Athlete’s Foot are foot stinging, redness and/or burning. Sometimes a person may get inflammation or crusting blisters on foot. This should be treated at the time you first notice it around your toe because it spreads fast to the other parts of the body and other people.
Several fungal infection treatments are available to inhibit the growth of the fungus or to kill it. Miconazole (Micatin), clotrimazole (Lotrimin), tolnaftate (Tinactin), terbinafine (Lamisil), are a few antifungal creams that can be used at home. But, if you have severe athlete’s foot, it is wise to consult your doctor. After examining the infected area, the physician will recommend you some medicines or may also perform some medical tests to confirm the diagnosis.