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What You Should Know About Athletes Foot

Updated on June 9, 2013
RNMSN profile image

Barbara worked at Thomas Hospital Home Health and is certified for home health from ANCC. She received her MSN from Mobile University, Ala.

itchy, red spotches that spread outward like ringworm    Photo courtesy of BING
itchy, red spotches that spread outward like ringworm Photo courtesy of BING
athletes foot   Photo courtesy of CDC
athletes foot Photo courtesy of CDC

Athlete's foot, what is it?

Many people are aware that athletes foot is a fungal infection but are unaware it is not the same yeast infection caused by candidas or thrush. It is tinea pedis, it is the same fungus that causes jock itch, ringworm of the body or the scalp, and it is mildly contagious. It used to be thought if you got it once you would continue to get it but actually, if you change the things that are allowing the fungus to grow and get treatment, stay on the treatment and follow up with the physician there is no reason you should ever get it again.

The way it is caught, so to speak, is the fungus lives on warm moist areas and does not die like a virus and is harder to kill than bacteria so if you are warm and moist and you step in a pile of it, again, so to speak, then you could contract it. Put your feet into plastic or vinyl, tight shoes and socks, and it will get worse.

Soon your feet are red, peeling between your toes, have an unpleasant odor, patches of loose skin peeling and itching and or burning. Blisters can form then they really can be infected with a secondary infection. Sometimes not only topical antifungals like Monistat, is needed but also oral antifungals like diflucan are needed to clear up the problem.

If you are a diabetic even worse problems can occur so if you are a diabetic and suspect athletes foot or any problem with your feet, see your physician immediately!

The thing about athlete’s foot is that it is not related to being an athlete, although it is true more men than women contract it. It is simply a matter of putting your feet in harm’s way. If you know how it occurs and how to prevent and or treat it if it does occur then there will be no problems at all.

Have you ever had athletes foot?

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Here is what you need to do

·         Wear loose socks, diabetic socks are the best

·         Have at least two pairs of shoes and switch them out daily

·         Avoid plastic or vinyl shoes

·         Avoid tight shoes and socks, even leather shoes can cause problems if too tight

·         Avoid walking barefoot in public showers, swimming pool areas, or on bathmats, rugs if someone in your household has athletes foot!

·         Wash your hands then wash your feet, especially between toes, with soap and water then wash your hands again and dry feet completely especially between your toes

·         Avoid scratching, rubbing or aggravating the area

·         Sometimes after the infection is gone a protein causes blisters to form on your hands or fingers, see your physician again, as this is an allergic reaction caused by athletes foot

·         Sometimes a foot soak of vinegar will also improve the problem. Vinegar is a known solution that will kill fungus. Another name for a vinegar solution is acetic acid. You can make your own with a quarter of the solution being vinegar and three-fourths of the solution warm water. However, if there are open, running areas do not use this unless the physician is aware and approves.

·         Even household pets can contract and spread athletes foot in a household

·         The best way to clean bathrooms and hard surfaces in a home such as the kitchen is still with a 1:10 bleach water solution with one part bleach and ten parts water. Wear gloves to clean all areas

·         Avoid touching, rubbing, treating someone with athletes foot unless you are wearing gloves and wash your hands before and after treatment

·         See your physician if the over the counter skin ointment such as Lamisil or Monistat and all other measures such as new shoes and socks and increased hygiene do not improve the problem.



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    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 2 years ago from Tucson, Az

      Thank you Maggie! And a happy and prosperous year to you and yours!

    • maggs224 profile image

      maggs224 2 years ago from Sunny Spain

      What a fascinating Hub Barbara, I always wear either 100% cotton or 100% wool socks as anything else makes my feet sweat. I like my trainers to be leather too.

      It is good to know what to do if we get athlete's foot, the faster the treatment the sooner it's gone. Voting up and hitting the relevant buttons as I go. Wishing you and yours a Happy and very Prosperous New Year

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you Bobbie!! fungus is no fun no matter where it ends up/it can even show up in wounds!! along with bacteria all at the same time!!! that's really a bummer but thak goodness for good doctors eh? and nurses too haha love to you barbara b

    • profile image

      Bobbie 7 years ago

      Thanks,this was really helpful.

    • profile image

      Mayo 7 years ago

      Very good information. Thank you.

      Athletes foot has been around - and been cured - with natural and home remedies, for centuries before products were available to buy in stores.

      You can soak your feet for 10 minutes, once or twice a day, in a solution of one part vinegar to three or four parts water.

      Be aware when you get dressed that the fungus can easily spread from your feet to your groin, causing jock itch.

      There are many anti-fungals besides "store-bought" creams that work well for athletes foot and jock itch - and are easily available, many of them common kitchen products.

      Here's a link to a page that tells you what they are and how to use them. These work for athletes foot, ringworm and jock itch which are all very closely related.


    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

      thank you teddletonmr and fundamentallife for your supportive comments! You guys make me feel I am doing what a nurse loves to do which is teach!! love to you both barbara b

    • fundamentallife profile image

      fundamentallife 7 years ago

      Great Hub, I used to suffer really bad with athletes foot. This advice really did work for me, years ago.


    • Teddletonmr profile image

      Mike Teddleton 7 years ago from Midwest USA

      Great imformation, everyone should read this hub.