It starts between your toes. You notice the skin is itchy there, very itchy. It feels likes it’s burning and looks like it’s flaking and peeling. Chances are, you’ve got a case of athlete’s foot. At North Jersey Podiatry we like to see patients at the very first signs of this disorder.
Dangers of Delaying Treatment
Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection. Not only does it spread quickly from one person to another, it can spread on a patient’s own body if you scratch a patch of athlete’s foot between your toes and then touch other parts of your body. It can spread to toenails (known as onychomycosis) and cause the nails to become thick, discolored and crumbly. It shows up in the groin area as jock itch. Once the skin is blistering and open, you are also at risk of developing a bacterial infection on top of the fungal one. In a family, athlete’s foot can easily spread if family members share a shower, towels, bed, clothing, and other items that touch the feet.
If you are experiencing itchy feet it’s important that our podiatrist, Dr. Paul Klein, examine your feet and diagnose your condition. Other skin problems, such as eczema and psoriasis, can have similar symptoms but will require different treatments.
If you do have athlete’s foot, the foot doctor will most likely prescribe a topical and/or oral antifungal medication. An antibiotic might also be needed if you have developed a bacterial infection as well.
Preventing Fungal Foot Infections
The good news is that you can take steps to greatly reduce the likelihood of contracting athlete’s foot. These include:
- Avoiding going barefoot in public places like pools, locker room showers, and gyms.
- Keep your feet dry! If you tend to sweat profusely, pack extra socks and change throughout the day whenever you notice your feet feel damp.
- Use a foot powder to help keep feet dry.
- Wear socks and shoes that allow feet to breathe.
- Avoid wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row if possible.
- Wash your feet every day and dry them thoroughly.
If you have additional questions about skin conditions on your feet, contact our Wayne, NJ office by calling (973) 595-1555.