How To Manage Your Athlete’s Foot Flare-up

Apr 30, 2023
How To Manage Your Athlete’s Foot Flare-up
Burning feet? Itchy, cracked, or peeling skin? It’s impossible to ignore athlete’s foot when symptoms arise. Fortunately, with an accurate diagnosis and expert care, they can be a distant memory in no time. Read on to learn more.

Did you know that up to 70% of Americans will end up with athlete’s foot at some point in their life? That’s because this problem is incredibly contagious.

Athlete’s foot develops because of a fungal infection. It can occur anywhere on the feet, but it most often occurs between the toes. This moist, warm environment is the perfect place for fungi to thrive. It also makes it tricky to treat.

Hai-En Peng, DPM, FACFAS at Align Foot & Ankle Center treat all types of podiatric issues, including skin conditions, such as athlete’s foot. If you have irritated or itchy skin on your feet or between your toes, here’s how and why you should take action.

Why you shouldn’t ignore athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot may not be life-threatening, but flare-ups can cause serious discomfort, including:

  • Burning or stinging
  • Itchy, red, or peeling skin
  • Oozing or crusty blisters

These symptoms alone are reason enough to find treatment, but they shouldn’t be the only ones.

This skin condition is actually a form of ringworm. Not only does this fungal infection thrive on the feet, but it can also flourish on other parts of the body, including your nails and skin. In fact, you may have heard of another common skin condition caused by the same fungal infection — jock itch. 

On top of that, athlete’s foot can spread easily from person to person, either through direct or indirect contact. More simply put, you can pick up this fungal infection through direct skin-to-skin contact, walking barefoot on an infected surface, such as a locker room, or from infected shoes or socks.

Seeking expert care can help you get an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. This is even more crucial if you have a medical condition that can put your feet at risk, such as diabetes. 

What to do when you have athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot often responds to over-the-counter powders and creams that contain antifungal medications, such as miconazole, terbinafine, or clotrimazole. For the best results, it’s essential to continue using these treatments for up to two weeks after your symptoms clear up. 

In addition to medicated foot treatments, you should also treat athlete’s foot by:

  • Thoroughly cleaning your feet with soap and water at least twice daily
  • Keeping your feet dry, especially between your toes
  • Wearing clean cotton socks, changing them often to keep your feet dry
  • Putting lamb’s wool (available at drugstores and online) between your toes
  • Wearing breathable shoes and making sure they completely dry between wearings
  • Using flip-flops, sandals, or shower shoes at pools, spas, or public showers

If your symptoms don’t respond to these treatments within 2-4 weeks or you have chronic flare-ups, Dr. Peng could recommend advanced care. For example, they may recommend prescription topical or oral antifungal medications and antibiotics.

Do you have a skin condition? To find out what’s going on and to get treatment, book an appointment online or over the phone with Align Foot & Ankle Center today. We have offices in Camarillo and Santa Barbara, California.