Athlete’s foot is an itchy skin infection on the foot caused by contact with fungus. Prevention is the best cure for athlete’s foot. Steer clear of walking barefoot in places like public pools and showers, foot baths, water-parks, and changing rooms. It also helps to wear open-toe shoes, sandals, or sweat-wicking socks, and to sanitize your shoes daily. This all sounds straightforward, but there is a lot of misinformation about athlete’s foot out there.
Myth #1: Only runners and athletes get athlete’s foot.
According to WebMD, “Athlete’s foot got its name because the fungus that causes it likes to hang out in places athletes frequent, like showers and locker rooms.” However, men, women and children can get this condition if they are exposed to a variety of different fungi.
Myth #2: Athlete’s foot is harmless and will eventually go away on its own.
Athlete’s foot, if left untreated, can become quite severe. The Lamisil website warns that untreated athlete’s foot can cause “aggressive and resistant bacterial infections,” as well as “allergic reactions caused by proteins that enter the bloodstream.” Once the allergens get into the bloodstream, itchy rashes can begin popping up anywhere on the body. A combination of medicine and self-care practices are the only true cure for athlete’s foot.
Myth #3: I don’t have ringworm because that’s a parasite.
It’s a common fallacy that ringworms are parasites. In fact, “ringworm” is a red, scaly skin condition caused by the tinea fungus. The conditions are named based on where they appear. For instance, fungus foot is called “athlete’s foot,” and rash in the groin area is called “jock itch.”
Myth 4: Showering and good hygiene prevent athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot has nothing to do with hygiene. Keeping your feet clean and dry is important, but you can still contract athlete’s foot if you come into contact with the fungus. No matter how carefully you wash between your toes, it won’t save your bare foot from stepping onto fungus at the public pool or in a hotel shower.
Myth 5: Walking barefoot puts you at risk of athlete’s foot, so I won’t get it if I wear shoes all the time.
There are other ways to develop athlete’s foot. The fungus can be spread if a person scratches the rash and touches other parts of the body. So, sharing clothing, socks, shoes, sheets, or towels with another person can also put you at risk. In fact, wearing shoes and socks all day can create the perfect habitat for germs to thrive. “Athlete’s foot likes warm, dark, moist places,” says UAMS Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Ruth Thomas. She adds, “If you do not get your feet out of the shoes and let them air out, you’re going to be more prone to have problems with athlete’s foot.”
Other Myths & Facts About Cure For Athlete’s Foot:
There are many myths about the treatment of athlete’s foot. For one, peeing in the shower does not prevent athlete’s foot, despite what Madonna may tell David Letterman. Tomas L. Griebling, Vice-Chair of Urology at the University of Kansas School of Medicine told Self Magazine that urine is sometimes used as an anti-fungal emollient in topical creams, but it is not effective for athlete’s foot. The problem, he says, is that one would need a very high concentration of urea and sustained exposure to have any sort of impact.
Forget other types of athlete’s foot home remedies — vinegar, tea, bleach, Listerine, Vicks VapoRub… it’s all garbage! You will need to take an oral anti-fungal medication for as long as your doctor recommends it. Even if the symptoms clear up entirely, you should finish the course as directed. From there, keep in mind that athlete’s foot can always come back if you are not careful.