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Itchy Feet: What to Do About Athlete's Foot

Itchy Feet: What to Do About Athlete's Foot



What does athlete's foot look and feel like?
I'm not an athlete! Why do I have athlete's foot?
How can I keep from getting athlete's foot?
I have athlete's foot. How do I get rid of it?


What does athlete's foot look and feel like?
Athlete's foot causes dry, scaly skin, usually between the toes. It typically starts out white and flaky, then turns red and cracked as it gets worse. Your skin may swell and blister, too. The fungus that causes athlete's foot can leave your tender toes itching and burning. It can be painful if you have blisters that break open and expose pink, raw skin. And ugly! Athlete's foot can make you want to toss your favorite pair of sandals in the back of the closet! back to top

I'm not an athlete! Why do I have athlete's foot?
Anyone can get athlete's foot. It's not caused by exercise, but by a fungus that grows in damp, dark places. The fungus is particularly attracted to the skin between sweaty toes that spend all day inside shoes. Sure, athlete's foot fungus grows around pools, gym showers, and locker rooms. But it can also be spread from person to person through bedsheets or clothing. back to top

How can I keep from getting athlete's foot?
Athlete's foot doesn't grow by itself. You have to catch it. Here's how you can keep from getting it:
  • Don't walk barefoot in the locker room, around the pool, or in the gym. Wear flip-flops or shower shoes.
  • Put talcum powder on your feet, especially between your toes, before you put on socks and shoes.
  • Wear lightweight and well-ventilated shoes, or wear sandals when you can.
  • Wear clean cotton or wool socks and change them at least once a day. There's nothing magic about white socksóit's the absorbent cotton that counts. Feel free to express yourself with colorful socks!
  • Dry between your toes after bathing or showering. back to top
I have athlete's foot. How do I get rid of it?
You can buy creams, sprays, and ointments in the drugstore that fight athlete's foot. You put them right on your skin. (Make sure you wash your hands both before and after you use them so that you don't spread the infection to other parts of your body.) Read the package directions to find out how often to apply them. Usually, you have to use these remedies for several weeks to clear up the infectionóbut some minor cases of athlete's foot will go away in a week or two. Keep using the cream, spray, or ointment for a week after your feet look clear to be sure you've killed the fungus! Athlete's foot can be stubborn. Sometimes it keeps coming back, or won't go away in the first place. If this happens, talk to a health professional. You may want to try an antifungal medicine that is stronger than what you can buy in the drugstore. back to top

 
 
 
Last Modified Date: 4/2/2001
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