Tinea pedis is fungus of the skin. It is also called Athlete’s Foot because it is commonly picked up at gyms. Do not let your feet come in direct contact with the gym floor, locker room floor or the gym shower floor. These are all highly contaminated areas of fungus. Once your foot contacts the fungus the infection will show up as a white scale, water vesicle or peeling of the skin usually between the toes and around the bottom surface of the foot or a moccasin pattern. Long standing skin fungus will spread to the other foot then start spreading to the nail bed causing fungal nails or tinea unguium or onychomycosis. Skin fungus can be cured with proper medication usually within 1-3 months. Nail fungus can take 4-12 months to cure. These are the best ways to prevent fungus in the feet:

1. Never let the feet touch any area outside of your house. No bare feet in the front or backyard or garage or grass area. Always have a pair of slides near any door to wear whenever exiting the house.

2. No barefoot ever touching the hotel room floor especially the hotel bathroom floor. You can shower or bathe barefooted but after coming out of the tub or shower, lay a towel on the floor and step on top of the towel to dry off then wear slides to walk around the room.

3. No barefoot ever at the gym whether it’s courtside after basketball or volleyball if shoes and socks want to come off have the slides next to you to slip on. Gym showers I would recommend wearing slides into the shower.

4. If you have sweaty feet, use a fungal powder spray in the morning before wearing socks and shoes.

5. If it looks like fungus whether it’s itchy or not try an over the counter antifungal cream like Lamisil, Ketoconazole, or Lotrimin. If there is no improvement after 1 week see a podiatrist for prescription topical medicine such as Naftidine, Ciclopirox, or Econazole.

6. Use Clorox or Lysol wipes to disinfect the shower and bathroom floors once a week. Do not share towels, slides, shoes or socks with anyone who has fungus.

Being a podiatrist for 26 years, I have been treating fungus almost everyday at work. Prevention is key.

Dr. Henry Tseng

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