Feet aren’t the sweetest-smelling parts of your body, but if your feet and shoes start giving off a particularly offensive odor, you might have athlete’s foot. This fungal disease affects people of all ages, and you don’t have to play sports to contract it. Learn more about athlete’s foot to help you diagnose, treat, and prevent it.
Causes of Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is caused by fungi, which thrive in warm, moist environments. This makes your feet susceptible to infection when they start sweating in the confines of your tennis shoes. The mildly contagious condition can spread through direct contact or from touching skin particles left on towels, socks, shoes, and other surfaces.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
You might have athlete’s foot if you notice any of these symptoms on one or both feet:
- Itchy, scaly rash between your toes
- Small red blisters between your toes or on the soles of your feet
- Dryness and scaling on the soles and sides of your feet
- Leaky, red sores (ulcers) that give off a bad odor
How to Prevent Athlete’s Foot
Help your feet stay fungus-free with these tips:
- Wear synthetic socks to wick sweat away from your skin.
- Buy shoes made of breathable materials.
- Put on clean socks every day, and alternate what shoes you wear.
- Never share your shoes, socks, or towels with others.
- Take your shoes off when you get home to expose your feet to the fresh air.
- Avoid walking barefoot in locker rooms and public showers.
Treatments for Athlete’s Foot
Begin treating athlete’s foot as soon as you notice even the mildest itching or scaling on your feet. The sooner you act, the faster the infection will clear up.
Over-the-counter medicine: Look for creams, gels, sprays, and powders at the drug store that is designed to ease the symptoms of athlete’s foot. Continue treatment for a week or two after the infection clears up to prevent a recurrence.
If you show signs of athlete’s foot, try over-the-counter treatments first. If your infection doesn’t respond or spreads to other parts of your body, visit Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology for professional treatment. We can prescribe topical and/or oral medications to get your condition under control.