How to Prevent Athlete's Foot

The term athlete’s foot may be somewhat misleading as this fungal infection can strike almost anyone, whether you’re active or not. And once athlete’s foot takes hold, it can lead to a very uncomfortable rash, which can turn into a more painful experience if blisters and cracks form.

At Neuhaus Foot and Ankle, our team of experienced podiatrists believes that prevention is the best approach to dealing with fungal infections, which is why we’ve pulled together the following tips before the warmer months are upon us.

Staying high and dry in public places

Athlete’s foot, which is medically known as tinea pedis, earned its name because of the prevalence of fungal infections among those who spend time in locker rooms and sweaty socks — two places where the fungus is found in abundance and where it grows. 

The fungus that leads to athlete’s foot thrives in warm, moist, and dark environments, such as:

So, the first, and arguably most important, prevention step is to keep your feet high and dry in public places such as these. This means wearing flip-flops rather than going barefoot, especially into gym or locker room showers. And once you’re done showering or out of the pool, you should dry your feet as quickly as possible.

Mind your sweaty shoes and socks

Whether you’ve just come off the tennis courts or you’re back from a round of golf, peel off your socks and wash your feet as soon as you can. Lingering in sweaty shoes or socks that may be harboring the fungus is an easy road to athlete’s foot.

You should also wash your socks after every use — never reuse dirty ones — and allow your shoes to thoroughly dry before wearing them again. Today’s clothing has come a long way in terms of shoes and socks that breathe better and wick away moisture, so we advise you to use these great advances and upgrade your footwear, especially if you’re active.

Wash and dry your feet daily

It sounds obvious, but another great prevention technique is to wash and dry your feet daily. Too often people rush this part of their bathing routine. Use a gentle soap and be sure to dry your feet completely — tossing the towel in the wash immediately if you see any signs of athlete's foot.

A great time to practice this daily ritual is right before bed so that you know your bed will remain fungus-free (and a little bit cleaner and nicer smelling, as well).

When infection strikes

If you do contract athlete's foot, it’s important that you do what you can to prevent spreading it to others. If you follow the steps above and make sure not to share any towels, socks, shoes, or linens, you can keep the problem confined to your feet until they are fully healed.

And then that’s where we come in. If you suspect you have athlete’s foot, early intervention can save you considerable discomfort in the future. Simply contact one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Murfreesboro, Gallatin, or Lebanon, Tennessee, for guidance and treatment.

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