Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection which, unlike the name implies, affects athletes and nonathletes alike. It can be an itchy, painful nuisance, and is often treated at home with over-the-counter medications.

However, if your athlete’s foot is too tough to handle, is especially painful, or keeps recurring, it’s time to seek professional care. At InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry, we are always happy to help patients with any case of athlete’s foot.

What Are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?

A typical acute case of athlete’s foot tends to start between and around the toes, but it can spread throughout the foot and even to other parts of your body, including your hands. Avoid touching a suspected case of athlete’s foot as much as possible, and always wash your hands thoroughly after coming into contact with it.

Common signs of athlete’s foot include:

  • A rash that is often reddish in color
  • A scaly appearance to the skin
  • Itchiness, often most intense after taking off shoes and socks
  • A burning, stinging sensation

Some severe cases of athlete’s foot may develop blisters or sores, but these are less frequent symptoms.

The chronic type of athlete’s foot often presents as dryness and scaling along the bottom and sides of the feet. This is sometimes referred to as the “moccasin” variety, due to how it covers the foot.  This form tends to be less symptomatic but if left untreated can spread to the nails causing fungal toenails.

Treating Athlete’s Foot and Preventing Future Cases

If your athlete’s foot has not been responding to over-the-counter medication, we may need to prescribe a stronger one for your needs. In some severe cases, oral anti-fungal medications may be recommended.

If your athlete’s foot continues to recur, we may need to take a closer look at your medical history and habits. Making some changes can significantly lower your risk for this type of infection.

Preventing fungal foot infections is always better than having to treat a case that arises. These simple steps will reduce your risk of contracting athlete’s foot:

  • Drying your feet thoroughly after a shower or swim, especially between the toes.
  • Changing your socks regularly if your feet tend to sweat profusely.
  • Using foot protection such as shower shoes or sandals in high-traffic barefoot areas, such as locker rooms, showers, and around public pools.
  • Giving your shoes at least 24 hours to air dry before putting them on again.
  • Never sharing shoes, socks, or other footwear.
Athlete's foot (tinea pedis)
Male feet in sneakers running on the treadmill at the gym. Exercise concept.

When Should I See a Podiatrist About My Athlete’s Foot?

Please never hesitate to contact us whenever you have any concerns about athlete’s foot. We will always be happy to provide advice and treatment whenever needed.

General guidelines for seeking a podiatrist’s help with athlete’s foot include:

  • Persistent cases with little improvement following 2 weeks of at-home treatment.
  • A case that is especially painful or is affecting your ability to do daily activities.
  • Cases that keep recurring or are chronic (even if minor).
  • You have diabetes, poor circulation, or other conditions that can make even minor injuries or sores on the feet more likely to develop into more serious infections.

Get the Help You Need for Healthy Skin and Nails

Good skin and nail care is about more than just looking good; it can greatly affect your overall health and comfort. If you have athlete’s foot or another condition that isn’t responding to your home therapy, don’t hesitate to come to us for help.

Schedule an appointment with InStride Crystal Coast Podiatry by calling (252) 638-4700 or by filling out our online contact form.