Athletes are not the only ones who are always up on their feet running. We all have things to do and places to go. However, when you do not properly manage your feet’s hygiene, you may contract various kinds of infection, like athlete’s foot. It is a fungal skin infection that commonly begins between the toes.
In some cases, over-the-counter topical drugs can treat athlete’s foot. However, if your symptoms persist, it’s time to see a foot and ankle doctor.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
Take note of your symptoms and when they appeared. If over-the-counter solutions don’t work after a few days, consult your podiatrist to receive proper treatment. The signs and symptoms of an athlete’s foot are as follows:
- Itching or burning between toes or on the soles of your feet
- Scaly red rash that begins between your toes
- Blisters or ulcers
- Dry and cracked skin
- Peeling or flaky skin
- Thick and brittle toenails
- Yellowish toenails
A variety of athlete’s foot results in dryness and can be mistaken for dry skin or eczema. Athlete’s foot is a contagious disease that can spread through direct contact with the site of infection or other contaminated surfaces like towels. If you’re not careful, you can spread it to other parts of your body, including your hands, nails, and groin.
What to Expect From Your Checkup with a Foot and Ankle Doctor
To better diagnose your condition, identify its cause, and recommend a treatment plan, your podiatrist will review your medical history and ask you the following:
- What are your symptoms, and when did they start?
- What did it look like when your foot first started itching?
- Have you been exposed to someone with athlete’s foot?
- Did you recently go to a public swimming pool or sauna?
- Is the site of irritation itchy or painful?
- What over-the-counter treatments have you tried? What worked and what didn’t?
A foot and ankle doctor is equipped to diagnose your condition with a simple physical examination. However, your doctor may also get a sample of your skin for further testing. This can confirm your diagnosis and rule out other possible conditions.
Treating Athlete’s Foot
Your podiatrist may give you a topical cream, lotion, or powder to treat mild athlete’s foot. If those don’t work, they can prescribe stronger medications. Depending on the severity, you may need oral antifungal pills.
They will also give you advice such as lifestyle adjustments and home remedies to improve your symptoms and prevent athlete’s foot from recurring. These include the following:
- Keep your feet dry. Dry your feet after a bath and air them out if you’re indoors.
- Regularly change your socks. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot thrives in damp and humid environments, like when you’re wearing sweaty socks. Changing your socks prevents fungi from growing and spreading.
- Choose cotton, wool, or moisture-wicking socks. Avoid socks that trap sweat and moisture.
- Don’t use the same pair of shoes every day. Give your shoes time to dry after use.
- Continue applying antifungal cream or powder. Your doctor may advise you to continuously apply an antifungal cream on the dry site of infection even after the rash is gone.
- Avoid scratching the rash. To relieve the itch, you may soak your feet in cool water instead of scratching.
- Do not share socks or shoes with other people. Fungal infections are contagious, and sharing your footwear increases the risk of spreading the infection.
Foot and Ankle Doctor in Naples, FL
Foot and ankle issues are best handled by podiatrists. If you have any symptoms that indicate a problem with your foot or ankle, don’t hesitate to talk to a specialist, so that you can receive proper treatment. Don’t let athlete’s foot hinder you from performing your daily activities and hobbies.
Here at Joint Replacement Institute, our podiatrist, Dr. Cody Togher, can get you a prompt diagnosis, treatment, and prevention guidance of various foot and ankle conditions. Our goal is to help you live life to the fullest, free from discomfort, pain, and itchy feet.
To book an appointment with Dr. Togher, you may contact us at (239) 261-2663 or fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!