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Is Athlete's Foot Contagious?

Is Athlete's Foot Contagious?

Athlete’s foot is highly contagious. If you pick up this common fungal infection, you can take steps to protect others, and if you don’t have it, you can decrease your chances of getting it. 

Athlete’s foot develops from fungi that cause mild skin rashes between the toes and sometimes on the bottom and sides of the feet. It’s difficult to eliminate, but there are treatments that can help.

As a dermatologist and medical director of Hines Dermatology Associates, Yvonne Hines, MD, can help you keep your skin as healthy as possible. She evaluates and treats a range of skin conditions from common to rare and simple to complex. 

Athlete’s foot usually isn’t dangerous, but it can cause skin that burns, itches, and cracks significantly. Take a moment to find out how to prevent the spread of athlete’s foot and what to do when it strikes.

What is athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin, and despite the term, you don’t have to play sports to get it. It causes an itchy, red rash on the feet, as well as dry, peeling skin. 

Athlete's foot is quite contagious, and many people contract it by walking barefoot in public places like locker rooms, showers, and around swimming pools.

These warm and moist areas are ideal for fungi to thrive. You can also contract the fungus by sharing personal items with an infected person, such as towels, socks, or shoes. 

Because athlete's foot can spread from your feet to other parts of your body, it's important to treat it as soon as possible. If you have symptoms of athlete's foot, see a health care provider right away.

The effects of athlete’s foot

The skin between your toes is most affected by athlete's foot, often cracking, peeling, and flaking. If it spreads, the skin on the bottom, heels, and edges of your feet may become dry, itchy, and scaly.

Fluid-filled blisters or open sores can develop in severe cases of athlete's foot, usually on the bottoms of your feet. Open sores are most common between the toes, but they can also occur on the bottoms of your feet. Your feet may also have an unpleasant odor.

Preventing the spread of athlete’s foot

Athlete's foot easily spreads from one person to another. Keeping your feet clean and dry is the first step in limiting the spread. Every day, wash your feet with soap and water and let them dry completely before putting on clean socks. Avoid wearing damp socks.

Wear sandals or shower shoes in public and shared areas. Allow your feet to breathe as much as possible and choose well-ventilated footwear.

Avoid sharing towels or socks with anyone. Apply an anti-fungal powder to your feet, especially if you engage in strenuous activities that cause sweating.

Treating athlete’s foot

Treatment may begin with antifungal creams, ointments, gels, sprays, or powders. Clotrimazole, miconazole, tolnaftate, or terbinafine are active ingredients commonly used to combat athlete’s foot.

Depending on the severity and the duration of your athlete’s foot, Dr. Hines may prescribe an oral antifungal. Fluconazole, itraconazole, or terbinafine are active ingredients in these pills.

For more information on how our expert team of dermatology specialists can fight back against athlete’s foot and restore your feet, contact our Attleboro, Massachusetts, office at 508-222-1976 or book online to schedule an appointment. 

New and existing patients can also send a message to Dr. Hines and the team right here on our website.

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