Athletes Foot: Not Just for Athletes!
By Gary Picariello
One of the risks of staying in shape is getting hurt. That’s what happens when you overdo it in the gym or on the track or in the pool. But another risk, often overlooked or ignored altogether is not the result of overtraining, but the result of poor hygiene! We’re talking about athlete’s foot: A common infection caused by a fungus and result of exposure to damp surfaces such as showers, swimming pools, and locker room floors.
Athlete’s Foot Does not Discriminate
Because athlete’s foot is actually a fungal infection it can occur on any part of the body. Our feet are probably the easiest target because they are constantly in a dark, moist, warm environment such as a shoe -- exactly where fungus likes to hang out!
Having athlete’s foot is nothing to brag about. It is commonly seen on the soles of the feet and between the toes. The byproduct AF is usually itchy, dry, scaling skin. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving; if you don’t treat it and continue scratching away, athlete’s foot just never seems to get better. In advanced cases, inflammation, cracks, and blisters may form; an infection caused by bacteria can also result. The fungus can spread to other areas of the body, including toenails.
Go on the Offensive
Preventing athlete’s foot is not rocket science: Just keep your feet clean! Additionally keep them dry and cool. Wear clean socks daily, none of this, turn-the-sock-inside-out-and wear-it-again stuff! Refrain from walking barefoot in public areas; wear sandals or flip-flops inside locker rooms.
Treatment for athlete’s foot is not restricted to cleanliness alone. Over-the-counter antifungal creams are extremely effective, as are prescription medicines for more serious infections. According to WebMD.com, “apply the cream on the soles of your feet. When treating your toes use lotion or powder as it is more quickly absorbed than the cream and won’t trap moisture, which could prolong the problem.”
In most cases, three consecutive days of treatment should clear up most of the symptoms. But don’t assume that the infection has ended just because the itching is gone and there's no sign of redness or cracking on the skin. Typically you need to repeat use for six or more weeks to resolve the infection and prevent a relapse. Remember, athlete’s foot is like your mother-in-law: it just keeps coming back if ignored.
If you are completely lost on what to do (about your athlete’s foot not your mother-in-law) schedule a visit with your podiatrist.
If Left Unattended
Athlete’s foot should not be ignored. HealthCommunities.com points out that the condition can be easily treated, but if allowed to progress, it can be extremely bothersome and resistant to treatment, and can lead to cellulitis, a potentially serious bacterial infection.
It goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway): Because we spend so much time each day on our feet, they deserve to be treated with a little tender loving care. Stay dry, stay clean and watch out for the effects of athlete’s foot!
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Brookfield, Wis.