Athlete’s Foot and shoes that cause it

This article was published on: 02/28/23 12:15 PM

Athlete’s Foot and shoes that cause it

Athletes Foot is a fungal infection of the skin and is also known as tinea pedis.  Fungus likes to live where it is warm, dark and moist and people with sweaty feet are more susceptible to developing a fungal infection.   Shoes can be an ideal breeding ground for this type of microorganism.  Athletes Foot can be uncomfortable, malodorous and may even lead to other types of infections which could complicate treatment and recovery.  Fungal infections are contagious and can be spread from person-to-person.

Athletes Foot can occur anywhere but is especially common in between the toes and on the bottoms of the feet where the moisture level tends to be higher.  A fungal infection on the bottom of the foot is known as moccasin tinea pedis as it typically covers the sole and sides of the foot like a moccasin or slipper.

What causes Athletes Foot?

Athletes Foot is caused by a fungus known as dermatophytes.  This type of fungal infection received its nickname because it’s often picked up in places athletes typically frequent such as showers, gyms and change rooms.  These places are not the only source of infection though, as mentioned previously, fungus lives where it is warm, dark and moist.  Our shoes and socks are the ideal setting for fungus to set up residence.  When skin is overly moist, it becomes weakened and is therefore more susceptible to becoming infected. If a person’s immune system is compromised, they will also be more susceptible to skin infections such as Athletes Foot.

What does Athletes Foot feel and look like?

In between toes:

  • The skin in between toes may be white, peeling, cracked, itchy, have a burning or stinging sensation, and can even appear inflamed.
  • Inflamed skin in between toes can present as red, purple or even grey.
  • White indicates the skin is macerated or wet.

Bottoms of feet:

  • The skin on the sole and sides of the foot is typically itchy and may appear dry and scaly with peeling skin. Moccasin tinea pedis is often mistaken for dry skin.
  • This type of fungal infection tends to be long-lasting and difficult to eradicate, making proper diagnosis and treatment imperative.
  • In more severe cases, small blisters or openings in the skin can develop as part of the rash.

How can Athletes Foot be treated?

It is important to seek treatment from a Primary Care Professional or a BioPed Medical Footcare Clinician if this skin issue becomes persistent or causes discomfort.  Diabetes or a suppressed immune system can increase risk for complications as this type of infection can easily worsen and spread.  At home, washing and drying in between the toes on a daily basis is imperative and if moisture persists, rubbing alcohol can help to dry up overly wet tissue.  Over-the-counter and prescription antifungal creams and solutions are effective when applied as directed.  If moccasin tinea pedis does not resolve with topical treatments, an oral medication may be required to cure the infection.

Your shoes need treatment too!

Firstly, do not share shoes, as this type of infection is contagious! Allow shoes to air out between wears and change socks frequently if feet are on the sweaty side.  Lysol spray can be used in shoes to eradicate microorganisms.  UV lights made to fit in shoes are an effective way of making sure fungus is gone, which lessens the chances of re-infection.

How BioPed can Help

If you think you might have a fungal foot infection, give your local BioPed a call today to find out the next best steps!