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Being physically active comes with several benefits. Regular physical activity can reduce your susceptibility to heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases, help you manage your weight better, and ensure that you have stronger bones, joints, and muscles.
Preventing Athlete’s Foot
Engaging in physical activities within a group will also help you gain more friends and improve your social circle, as well.
However, if you don’t pay extra attention to your hygiene and the gear you’ll use when exercising, being physically active can also result in infections, such as athlete’s foot.
When not managed properly, this infection can become the reason why you’ll discontinue exercising or playing sports because any movement can cause severe pain and discomfort.
What Is Athlete’s Foot?
The athlete’s foot or scientifically called tinea pedis is a fungal infection that begins between the toes. People who have extremely sweaty feet and always wear tightfitting shoes are at high risk of developing this infection.
Athlete’s foot is contagious and can easily spread on a person’s toenails and hands when not treated promptly.
As the name suggests, this fungal infection is very common among athletes because their lifestyle requires them to move and sweat excessively while wearing closed shoes.
Aside from athletes, people who often visit public spaces such as locker rooms, swimming pools, and showers while being barefoot are also at high risk in developing athlete’s foot. The same is also true for individuals who share shoes, socks, and towels with another infected person.
According to Eastern Idaho Foot Clinic, there are many symptoms associated with athlete’s foot. However, the most common include severe itching and stinging between your toes or on the soles of your feet, and noticeable cracking and peeling skin on your feet. When the athlete’s foot has worsened, discolored and thick toenails also become visible.
How Can You Prevent Athlete’s Foot?
The athlete’s foot might not be life-threatening, but its symptoms can surely take a toll on your life. Aside from its physical symptoms, athlete’s foot can also harm your mental health as you’ll be too conscious of how your feet look or, in some cases, how it smells.
Instead of utilizing physical activities as an avenue to gain new friends, other people will scrutinize your character because you have athlete’s foot. This can have adverse effects on your body image and self-esteem.
If you don’t want any of these to happen, incorporate the following routines to your lifestyle. Here’s our guide to preventing athlete’s foot.
1. Always Keep Your Feet Dry
The fungus that causes athlete’s foot thrives and multiplies in wet and warm environments such as the inside of your feet and shoes.
These fungi will only need moisture and air to live, and this kind of environment is present whenever you wear closed shoes. The longer you wear a pair, the more susceptible you are to developing an athlete’s foot.
Keeping your feet dry all the time is one of the easiest and most effective ways for you to prevent athlete’s foot. You can try out the following methods for you to achieve this goal:
Keep a journal of your feet’s sweating episodes
Experiencing excessive sweating in the feet is no longer normal. More often than not, these episodes are triggered by very specific emotions, situations, and foods.
For you to treat the cause of the problem and ensure that you will no longer be burdened by sweaty feet, keep a journal of your feet’s sweating episodes. Pay attention to when your foot sweats and determine the possible triggers. This will make it very easy for you to treat the problem at hand and determine if your sweaty feet are caused by other underlying health conditions.
Wear the right socks
Because of the advent of technology, there are now easier ways for you to address your sweaty feet. Countless products are now available in the market to make this task easier for you.
For your next shopping trip, invest in the right socks based on the season and activities you usually do when you wear them. When playing during summer or warm months, look for socks made from cotton as this material encourages proper ventilation.
If you like plating during the colder months, socks made from wool is an excellent choice. Avoid wearing socks made from nylon as this synthetic material can trap moisture and cause your feet to sweat more.
Use antifungal powders
Aside from wearing the right socks, you can now buy antifungal powders that can help you address your sweat-related problems. These products will keep your feet odor-free and dry all day long.
2. Wash Your Feet Daily
As with any part of your body, cleaning your feet is important because it ensures that you have healthy feet that are free from any symptoms of any fungal infections. Regardless of how busy you are during the day or how tired you are the moment you arrive at home, you should always prioritize cleaning your feet. Disregarding the importance of clean and healthy feet can have long-term adverse effects on your overall health.
Here’s how you can properly wash your feet:
Use warm water when washing your feet
Although hot water is a common option for some, the temperature can strip off the natural moisture of your skin that can result in irritation.
If you’re unsure about the temperature of the water, check with your wrists and not with your feet. If the temperature of the water is tolerable after touching it with your wrists, you can use it to clean your feet.
Take the time to wash all of the areas of your feet
Concentrate on the underside of your toes and make sure to go through between all of them. Use a mild soap that’s free from any additives and chemicals.
After covering all areas of your feet, pat it with a dry towel
Avoid rubbing the skin on your feet as this can make your skin dry and irritated. Make sure to thoroughly dry between your toes, as well. These areas are prone to moisture and can become the breeding ground of bacteria and fungi.
Use natural moisturizing products
If you want to take your feet cleaning measures to another level, you can also use lanolin or other similar products to moisturize your skin. These work by keeping your feet and prevent calluses and cracks from developing. If you’re willing to try this trick, avoid putting any products in between your toes.
Keep your toenails clean
It’s also important to clean underneath your toenails as fungi can easily get trapped inside. Never use a sharp object in cleaning, and if you’re unsure of doing it on your own, hire a foot specialist to do the job for you.
3. Wear Shower Shoes When Using Public Areas
Spending time at the gym or in your community pool can be a great physical exercise, but not wearing the right footwear when you’re in these public places can also result in fungal infections.
As mentioned, an athlete’s foot is very common in public areas where there is moisture as countless individuals will share the same facilities. If you happen to use the same shower as an infected person, it won’t be long before you also experience the symptoms of athlete’s foot.
For you to avoid these from happening and ensure that you can still have fun when using public places, look for the best shower shoes. As the name suggests, this type of footwear is often used in showers to prevent your feet from being in contact with wet surfaces such as public pools, locker rooms, and showers. Shower shoes provide protection to your feet to prevent the contact and spread of the fungus.
Since there are several brands selling shower shoes in the market today, it’s important to find the best pair for your needs. You don’t want to spend your money on a pair that doesn’t protect you against fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, right? If you’re having a hard time deciding what shower shoes to get, look for the following properties in a pair:
You will be using your shower shoes in a wet or moist area which is why you should look for a pair that is water-resistant.
Checking for this property whenever you’re buying a pair might be a no-brainer, but there are actually individuals who would forget this and prioritize more on the price or aesthetics of a pair.
Make sure that you don’t commit the same mistake by trying out a pair, and checking if it is water-resistant from the toe to the heel. The material used for the shoes should also dry easily and quickly.
Ease of care
Aside from the money you’ll spend on buying, the overall health of your feet depends on the shower shoes you’ll wear. You will be using the pair for a long period of time, which is why you should make sure that it is very easy to clean.
How can you make the most out of your purchase if it will take you hours to dry and wear the pair again? How can you use your shower shoes during summer if its maintenance requirement is too complex?
When choosing shower shoes, look for a pair that is easy to care for. Ideally, dust should also be wiped with antibacterial wipes. You will be encouraged to wear your shower shoes all the time if you will not be stressed thinking about how you’re going to clean them.
You will be wearing your shower shoes as you engage in different physical activities. More often than not, you will be wearing it as you’re taking a shower after a session at the gym or when you’re enjoying the pool with your friends and family.
If you don’t want to sit down in the corner because of blisters on your feet, look for shower shoes that are comfortable and don’t pinch when worn even after wearing them for hours.
4. Pamper Your Feet Once In A While
Your feet are one of the most crucial parts of your body because it can help you move and accomplish more during the day. So, you also need to take care of them.
To keep your feet healthy and ensure that it’s free from athlete’s foot and other fungal infections, allocate time to pamper them at least once a week. A lot of people spend time and money to get their hair and nails done, and your feet should also give the same experience to your feet regularly.
By using the following products at home, you can give your feet the pampering it deserves:
Tea tree oil
Add a few drops of tea tree oil in a liter of water and soak your feet in it for a couple of minutes. Tea tree oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties that can effectively treat common fungal infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and candidiasis. You can also topically apply tea tree oil in your foot.
This natural oil has incredible antifungal properties that can fight athlete’s foot. According to studies, you can make the most out of the antifungal properties of neem oil by applying the product for at least three times a day in your foot.
Although it has a strong scent, crushed garlic is actually known to treat athlete’s foot and other fungal infections. You just have to use four to five gloves, crush it thoroughly and apply it topically on your foot. You can do this twice every day or more frequently as needed.
Although athlete’s foot starts with one part of your body, leaving this health problem unaddressed can adversely affect your toenails and cause them to become discolored and crumble over time.
In worse cases, athlete’s foot can spread to your groin and hands and make you susceptible to common bacterial infections such as cellulitis.
If you follow all of the tips in this article and none still worked, work with a professional. They can properly assess and diagnose your problem on an athlete’s foot and come up with tailored-fit solutions.
Coupled with your own efforts for preventing athlete’s foot, working with a pro will surely make it very easy for you to finally get rid of athlete’s foot and return to your normal lifestyle again!