Severe cases of athlete’s foot, officially known as tinea pedis, can require advanced treatment.
But many cases of the common condition can be prevented with some very easy measures, says Dr. David Podolsky, a podiatric physician and surgeon with Ankle & Foot Care Centers in Youngstown, Ohio.
Keep your feet dry
Athlete’s foot fungus tends to thrive in a dark, warm, moist environment, and that’s often exactly what we have inside our shoes, Dr. Podolsky said.
“It’s important to hand-dry feet completely with a towel after bathing and/or swimming,” he said. “Only a little bit of moisture is needed to retain athlete’s foot fungus.”
Wear the right socks
Light-colored and/or polyester socks are preferred over dark-colored or nylon socks, Dr. Podolsky added.
Nylon socks don’t breathe well, so moisture tends to stay on our feet instead of being wicked away, he said.
“Likewise, dark stocks tend to sustain heat than reflect it,” he said. “That adds to the potential for the foot fungus to grow.”
Try absorbent foot powder
Absorbent foot powder used in the shoes on a weekly or twice weekly basis will also help to wick moisture away from the feet and socks, Dr. Podolsky said.
Initial use of an over-the-counter athlete’s foot cream or spray, applied directly to the affected areas on a daily basis, may also be helpful.
If signs of athlete’s foot persist for two weeks, a visit to a podiatrist would be a good idea.