Athlete’s Foot Misconceptions: 5 Myths Regarding Tinea Pedis

For years, Peggy Neilson struggled with recurring athlete’s foot infections after picking up the fungus from a public pool. This embarrassing problem left her with destroyed toenails, unsightly skin, and dry cracks in her heels that caused extreme pain. She tried prescription topical medication, foot soaks, wearing flip-flops in public, avoiding professional pedicures, and shoe sanitization.

A 90-day course of oral Lamisil from a podiatrist finally broke the cycle of re-infection, but Neilson advises, “In addition to getting oral medication, you are going to have to implement a multi-pronged approach to beating this infection.” A SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer is part of this multi-faceted approach to athlete’s foot relief. In order to come up with a good game plan, you will have to make sure you’re not falling for these five common athlete’s foot myths.

athlete's goot drawing

Many myths surround athlete’s foot fungus infections.
Image Source: kidshealth.org

Myth #1: Only athletes get athlete’s foot.

“Athlete’s foot is a very common skin condition. Many people will develop AF at least once in their lives,” dermatologist Dr. Patricia Yap told the Jamaica Observer“We called this condition athlete’s foot because people who play a lot of sports tend to get it more often.” She explains that sweaty socks in sneakers is the best climate for fungal growth. In our practice, we tend to see the most cases of athlete’s foot among teenagers and people who are in shoes on their feet for long periods of time — chefs, police officers, security guards, etc.

Athlete’s Foot Prevention Tip: Individuals who wear open-toed shoes and sandals frequently are least likely to develop foot fungus. Letting your feet air out periodically is highly recommended in the prevention of athlete’s foot.

Myth #2: Cleaning my feet regularly will prevent athlete’s foot.

Many people pick up athlete’s foot from cleaning their feet in a public shower without wearing sandals, shower shoes, or flip-flops. Even though they use soap on their feet, they’ve also subjected the foot to fungus — which then proliferates once a damp foot is put into socks and sneakers.

Athlete’s Foot Prevention Tip: Keeping one’s feet not only clean — but also dry — is important in preventing re-infection, so be sure to rub a towel between your toes before getting dressed.

Myth #3: I won’t get athlete’s foot as long as I don’t walk barefoot.

Placing your bare foot in direct contact with dermatophytes sitting on a floor surface is just one way of getting athlete’s foot. You can also get infected by sharing towels, bedsheets, socks, soap, shoes, or nail clippers of someone who has athlete’s foot.

Athlete’s Foot Prevention Tip: You can even re-infect yourself by touching your treated feet with anything that previously touched your infected feet, so be sure to use proper disinfection and sanitization procedures for all of the aforementioned items.

Myth #4: You only have athlete’s foot if you have itchy red patches.

The stereotypical view of athlete’s foot is that it manifests itself as itchy, red, dry, scaly patches between the toes. Truth be told, athlete’s foot looks different from person to person. Some people have peeling or cracking skin between the toes, while others may have redness or dry skin along their soles. A single patch of insanely itchy blisters may pop up in some patients. Athlete’s foot can itch or burn — but it doesn’t always affect everyone in this way.

Athlete’s Foot Prevention Tip: It’s important to see a podiatrist to rule out conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis — which also appear similar to athlete’s foot.

Myth #5: Eventually, athlete’s foot will go away on its own.

It’s a popular misconception that soaking the foot in Listerine or trying to “wait it out” will cure foot fungus. “Without treatment, athlete’s foot will make your feet even itchier and more miserable,”  according to WebMD. “It can also turn into a more serious infection if you don’t take care of it.”

Athlete’s Foot Prevention Tip: Over-the-counter antifungal creams and prescription pills are the most common courses of treatment for athlete’s foot. Be sure to keep treating the infection for the full amount of time — even after symptoms disappear — to prevent recurrence.

The Bottom Line:

Now that a few points are clear, you are better prepared to prevent foot fungus and cure athlete’s foot once and for all. Well, you are almost ready… you also need a SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer to treat your shoes for fungal spores. What is the point of treating your feet, but sticking them right back into a filthy, infected shoe again? Rather than throw all your shoes in the trash, there is a better solution. Running your shoes through a 45-minute sanitization cycle eliminates athlete’s foot fungus, as well as odor-causing bacteria and infectious viruses. Try it risk-free today!