A fungal infection on the feet can be irritating and sore, causing cracked and flaky skin patches that can be quite painful. Many people suffer with cracked skin in between their toes, but some infections can result in fluid-filled blisters on the sides or soles of the feet.
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What Causes Foot Infections?
Foot infections such as athlete’s foot are typically caused by a buildup of bacteria because of the warm and humid conditions feet produce when in shoes. Wearing damp or sweaty socks inside shoes can be a breeding ground for the bacteria that causes fungal infections. However, athlete’s foot is actually a contagious infection and can be caught by contact with another person who has it or from surfaces that have been contaminated such as shoes, socks, towels, and even floors.
You should also know that an athlete’s foot can spread if you scratch the infected area and then touch other parts of your body.
You are more likely to become infected with a fungal infection like athlete’s foot if you wear closed shoes throughout the day, sweat a lot, or share shoes and socks with another person. You could also pick up the infection if you walk barefoot in communal areas such as saunas, swimming pools, or locker rooms.
How to Treat a Fungal Infection
According to the experts at ShoeFresh, when it comes to fungal infections on the feet, prevention is always better than cure. They recommend using a shoe deodorant regularly to eliminate smells and to keep shoes fresh and bacteria free.
However, if you do have sore or cracked skin and suspect you may have an infection, there are antifungal creams that you can use to help get rid of it. You should be able to find a suitable lotion, powder, ointment, or spray at your local drugstore.
Additionally, you should make sure to keep your feet clean and dry. Wash them every day (preferably in the morning and evening) and make sure to dry them fully before putting on socks or closed shoes. Do not rub your feet with a towel as this could cause irritation. Instead, gently dab until they are dry. Make sure to keep a separate towel for your feet. If you can, allow the feet to air dry.
When at home, take your shoes and socks off and wear open footwear to allow your feet to breathe. If you need to wear socks all day, change them during the day. Try not to wear the same pair of shoes every day and use a shoe deodorizer to keep them bacteria free.
Avoid sharing your shoes, socks, or towels with anyone else and if you are at the gym or swimming pool, do not walk around in your bare feet. Always wear flip-flops or swimming shoes to avoid spreading the infection. Steer clear of scratching the skin as this could cause the infection to spread.
You should be aware that fungal infections can keep coming back, and sometimes over-the-counter medications may not work. If you are struggling to control an infection, it is best to speak to a doctor who may be able to prescribe a steroid cream that you can use alongside your antifungal treatment. It may be necessary for you to take an oral antifungal medication.
Fungal infections on the feet can be sore and irritating and some are highly contagious. Preventing such an infection is much easier than treating one. If you are prone to sweaty feet and cracked skin, it is best to use a shoe spray and clean your feet every day, making sure to dry them properly before putting your shoes on.