Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection of the skin. It usually appears in between the toes or in the arch area of the foot, as this is where moisture is highest. Common signs and symptoms are redness, itchiness, burning and scaly skin. Fungus live on the outer layers of the skin, but persistent scratching can cause a break in the skin and lead to an infection that could spread within your body.
Fungus tend to live in warm, dark, moist environments. Although it is uncertain as to exactly why one person gets the fungus and another doesn’t, we do know that it is common to pick up athlete’s foot in wet public areas, such as locker rooms, swimming pools and hot tub decks. Another very common cause is wearing damp, dirty socks and shoes, as these are prime breeding grounds for fungus.
There are several over-the-counter and prescription medications that can treat athlete’s foot. Creams, ointments or gels tend to be more effective than powders or sprays. Most people tend to apply the medication for a few days until the symptoms are gone, but to truly eliminate the fungus you should continue with the medication for an additional 2 weeks after the symptoms have disappeared.
Wear clean, dry socks daily. You can use over-the-counter powders and sprays to keep your feet dry. Wear sandals in public showers and around pools or hot tubs. Air-out running shoes in the sunlight.