Here at DM Foot and Ankle Associates, we treat many people with athlete's foot. These are the top five myths we hear in the office and the truths behind them.
Myth #1: Athlete's foot is a virus.
Actually, athlete's foot is a nickname for a medical condition known as TINEA PEDIS. It is actually when a fungal organism invades the skin on the bottom of the foot or between the toes. There are several fungi that are most common causes of athlete's foot. This same fungi can infect the toenails or other parts of the skin in the body. Ever hear of jock itch? Same bug, different body part!
Myth #2: Only athletes really get athlete's foot, right?
False. Athlete’s foot can affect men, women, and occasionally children. Athletes are more likely to get it, because their feet are sweating inside of their shoes and socks while playing sports. Fungus loves warm, wet, and dark places... just like inside of a sweaty athlete's shoe. They are also more likely to get jock itch, go figure.
Myth #3: Only people with bad hygiene can get athlete's foot.
Both people with bad and good hygiene can get athlete's foot. Once you are exposed and the fungus is growing in your skin, no amount of soap and water can wash it away. Some people are simply more susceptible to getting this, depending on their environment. People with sweatier feet or in environments where their feet are exposed to moisture are more likely to get athlete's foot.
Myth #4: You can only get athlete's foot by walking barefoot.
Walking barefoot is one of the primary ways that athlete’s foot is spread, but the overall environment is the biggest factor involved. Keeping your feet trapped in wet conditions can allow fungus on your skin to overgrow, such as in athletes or people who work all day in construction boots. Other places are in pedicure tubs, public pools, and public showers. It is important to keep your feet dry and air them out, as well as wear sandals in all public places.
Myth #5: Athlete's foot is no big deal and will go away on its own.
Once the fungus has invaded your skin, it will not go away by itself. No amount of soap can treat fungus. Only an antifungal can kill the fungal infection. This lingering fungus can slowly worsen over time, spreading into your toenails or other parts of your body. We have an arsenal of topical agents that can easily get rid of this fungal infection, so there is absolutely no reason to live with it.
Now that we are back into fall, the type of socks and shoes that we are forced to wear can create the perfect environment for fungus to thrive. If you think you may have athlete’s foot, which can mimic dry skin and have no other symptoms, come into our office and get treated immediately!