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Family Foot Care & Surgery, LLC

Athlete’s Foot: Itchy Infections

Itching, uncomfortable feet are unpleasant. When you’re wearing shoes, it’s difficult to relieve the discomfort. Even if you’re able to scratch the itch, however, it’s hard to feel satisfied. One of the most common causes of this problem is athlete’s foot.

Itchy, Burning Skin

Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection of the feet. Under the right conditions, microscopic fungi begin growing and damaging your skin. You develop dry, itching, peeling, and burning lower limbs. The surface of your feet may become scaly and cracked. Severe cases may develop blisters. The condition is most commonly found between the toes, but it can affect other areas of your feet as well. It’s highly contagious, too, festering in your shoes and socks and lingering on sheets, bath towels, and damp floors. It may even spread to your toenails.

Not Just for Athlete’s—it’s Everywhere

The fungus thrives under warm, damp conditions. The pathogen occurs naturally in the environment, so it’s hard to avoid—though some places have higher infection risks than others. Public places like pools, saunas, community showers, and locker rooms, are all moist environments where people tend to walk barefoot, increasing the odds of passing on the infection. However, your feet must also provide the right atmosphere for the pathogen to grow and multiply. Warm, sweaty feet are vulnerable, particularly if they are locked away in shoes most of the time. People with compromised immune systems also have a higher risk for developing the problem.

Eliminate the Invader

The infection does not resolve on its own; in fact, it typically gets worse over time. You have to treat the problem intentionally and somewhat aggressively to eliminate it. Dr. Sanjay Patel and our staff can diagnose the issue and help you begin remedying the problem right away. We will evaluate your lower limbs and use small skin samples to rule out other possible skin conditions. Then you can begin treatments.

Athlete’s foot responds to multiple types of anti-fungal medications. Ointments, sprays, lotions, and powders are all common. Stubborn cases may need stronger medicines. We may also recommend an oral prescription to help your body fight back against the infection. You’ll need to treat your footwear, too, since the pathogen can linger in your shoes and socks. You might need to take steps to reduce your foot sweat as well.

Wash and completely dry your lower limbs every day, then apply the anti-fungal medication. Wear a fresh pair of moisture-wicking socks daily, and don’t share any footwear, nail clippers, or towels with others so the infection doesn’t spread. Use breathable or open shoes to allow the air to circulate around your feet and evaporate moisture. Try to avoid wearing the same pair of shoes back to back, as well, so each pair has time to dry between uses.

If you can, try to prevent the problem before it occurs in the first place. Avoid walking barefoot in public places. Instead, use shower shoes or sandals to separate your feet from potentially contaminated surfaces. You may also want to pre-treat your feet and your footwear with anti-fungal and antiperspirant products to make your body’s environment more hostile to the pathogen.

Athlete’s foot is an uncomfortable infection that steadily breaks down the skin on your feet. You don’t have to suffer with itchy, unsightly lower limbs, though; you can take care of the problem and even completely eliminate it. However, the longer you let it fester, the harder it will be to treat. Let Dr. Sanjay Patel and our team of experts at Family Foot Care & Surgery, L.L.C. in Connecticut help. Call either of our two offices or submit a form through our website to reach us. Call (203) 876-7736 for our Milford office, and (203) 288-4055 for our Hamden one.

Dr. Sanjay V. Patel
Dr. Patel has over 20 years of experience in the field of podiatric medicine and podiatric surgery.