Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection of the skin of the feet - and it can affect more than just athletes. It is spread by contact between the skin of the feet and fungus, which can get in through tiny cracks in the skin. The fungus may be spread from walking on an infected surface or sharing personal items like shoes, socks, or towels with an infected individual. Fungi thrive in warm, moist environments like communal showers, locker rooms, and public swimming pools, so it is suggested that you wear shoes when walking in these areas to avoid direct contact with the fungus.
If you do find yourself with athlete’s foot, you may notice a scaly, red, and itchy rash forming on your foot that usually starts between the toes. The skin on the soles of your feet may also become unusually dry, leading to peeling of the skin, cracked heels, and blisters. The feet may also sting or burn. Left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body, including your toenails, and sometimes to other people.
Athlete’s foot is usually treated by applying a topical antifungal medication directly to the feet. Over-the-counter antifungals are often effective in milder cases, while prescription-strength medication may be necessary to treat more severe cases. If you suspect that you may have athlete’s foot, it is suggested that you see a podiatrist for treatment.