Tinea Pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot is a fairly common fungal infection that commonly affects the feet especially the skin in between the toes. Despite its name, anyone who goes barefoot in public places can get athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is caused by the same fungus that causes ringworm and summertime is the perfect breeding season for this fungus. People are more likely to walk around barefoot at pools and in pool locker rooms during the summer so if someone who has athlete’s foot contaminates the ground and another person walks in the same area, then they are at risk of contracting the fungus.

Athlete’s foot usually starts out as a red itchy rash between the toes that can easily spread to other areas of the body. If you pick or scratch at the infected area it could spread to your hands and if you touch other areas of your body it could spread there too. Summertime activities can really exacerbate the problem of athlete’s foot. People are more likely to walk around barefoot which increases their chances of picking up the fungus and also with the warmer whether people sweat more which creates a nice damp breeding ground for the fungus. If caught early enough, you may be able to treat athlete’s foot with over the counter antifungal ointments but if the problem still persists after a week or two of treatment, you may need to seek medical treatment.

If you think you have contracted athlete’s foot and have been treating it with antifungal ointments but the problem still persists and seems to even be getting worse then it may an entirely different entity all together like dermatitis which will require a completely different course of treatment. With proper precautions one can avoid picking up athlete’s foot during the summer or any other time of the year for that matter. The simplest way to avoid getting athletes foot is to never ever walk around barefoot in public places. When around pools or in the locker rooms always wear beach sandals or aquatic shoes to prevent potential contact with contaminated surfaces. Try to keep your feet dry by wearing well ventilated shoes. When at home, be sure to dry your feet with a towel especially the spaces between your toes and sit barefoot for a while to allow them to air out. If you sweat a lot be sure to change your socks regularly and alternate between different pairs of shoes each day.

If you suspect you may picked up athlete’s foot and over the counter treatments aren’t working, seek medical treatment right away because getting the right treatment early can prevent an infection from spreading to other areas of your body or to other people. If you think you are suffering from athlete’s foot or would like more information on this subject and the management of it, please make an appointment with one of our podiatrists at Affiliated Foot and Ankle Care located in Edison and Monroe, NJ.

By Nrupa Shah