Fungal infections can affect various parts of the body that provide a moist environment such as your underarms and groin. Your feet sweat a lot and are therefore prone to a particular fungal infection called tinea pedis, or athlete’s foot. We typically see this type of infection in athletes and other active individuals who spend a lot of time in damp socks and wet locker rooms. Even though it’s common, it’s not always easy to get rid of. Here’s what you need to know about recognizing, treating, and preventing athlete’s foot:

  • Recognize it. The most common form of athlete’s foot shows up first in the webbed spaces between the toes. You may have itching, burning, redness, peeling, or cracking skin. Another form of athlete’s foot manifests these same symptoms on the sole of your foot. Finally, a third form begins with the sudden appearance of blisters on the top or sole.
  • Treat it. Athlete’s foot often responds well to over-the-counter antifungal creams.
  • Prevent it. Wear socks and shoes. Skipping socks can make your shoes a moisture haven, which is where fungi love to live. If you have especially sweaty feet, change your socks often throughout the day. Wear protective sandals in locker rooms and always keep your feet clean and dry.

When to call the podiatrist

Make an appointment with board-certified podiatrist Dr. Kenneth R. Wilhelm at Clifton Foot & Ankle Center if:

  • You have diabetes – people with diabetes shouldn’t attempt home treatment. The threat of a serious infection is too great.
  • You still have itchy, peeling skin after several weeks of using a topical cream.
  • You have an allergic reaction to the cream.
  • The infection spreads to your toenails or other parts of your feet.
  • The infection goes away but then recurs.

Dr. Wilhelm can prescribe stronger topical creams or oral anti-fungal medications. However, these oral medications tend to cause many side effects, including dizziness, headache, nausea, and vomiting. Stop tinea pedis before it progresses to that point. Contact us in Centreville, Virginia, at (703) 996-3000 for fast, effective treatment of athlete’s foot. Our office is centrally located for residents of Fairfax County and the western suburbs of D.C.

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