How is it even possible for your feet to itch so badly and burn at the same time? The fungus that causes athlete’s foot can do that. Even though athlete’s foot can be annoying and embarrassing, it’s easy to treat: Podiatrists Jacob Reinkraut, DPM, FACFAS; Michelle Suh, DPM, ABPM; and Danny Gomez, DPM, FACFAS, can alleviate athlete’s foot with topical or internal antifungal medication. When store-bought products fail, see the professionals at Complete Foot and Ankle. Make an appointment at their Ridgewood or Newark, New Jersey, location online or over the phone.

Athlete’s Foot Q & A

What is athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection that affects the toes and feet. It can spread to your toenails and fingernails, especially if you scratch your feet. The same fungus also causes ringworm and jock itch.

Athlete’s foot thrives in warm, humid environments such as locker room floors, saunas, and sweaty shoes. Any towel, flooring, pair of shoes, workout mat, or other person infected with the fungus can spread the condition.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

  • Scaly red rash
  • Intense itchiness
  • Burning sensation

When should I see a doctor for athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot tends to recur for many people, so it’s essential to consult with a medical professional if the condition becomes a nuisance and:

  • Your athlete’s foot is severe
  • Home treatments don’t work
  • Multiple people in your household are infected
  • You have diabetes
  • You show signs of secondary bacterial infection (i.e. fever, pus, swelling)

What medical treatments are available for athlete’s foot?

First and foremost, you should try to prevent athlete’s foot. You can do that by:

  • Always wearing sandals in public pools or showers
  • Keeping your feet dry as much as possible
  • Wearing breathable shoes and socks
  • Alternating shoes each day so they can dry in between
  • Not sharing towels or shoes with other people

If you do contract athlete’s foot, you can try over-the-counter ointments for athlete’s foot before consulting your doctor. However, if those don’t work, you may need more potent topical or oral medications.

Topical medication

Your podiatrist may give you prescription-strength athlete’s foot cream or powder to use daily. You’ll probably have to use these medications for several weeks after the infection clears up to prevent recurrence.

Oral medication

Oral antifungal medications help fight athlete’s foot systemically. If athlete’s foot infects your toenails, you may need to use oral medication for most of a year as your nails grow out.

If you need medical treatment for your athlete’s foot, contact Complete Foot and Ankle online or over the phone for an appointment.