Given the name of the condition, there’s little wonder as to why so many athletes develop athlete’s foot. After all, fungal infections tend to form in dark, moist areas, and sweaty socked feet are prime targets for fungus growth. Of course, this isn’t to say that athletes should simply resign themselves to perpetual foot fungus. As you’ll find, there are a variety of ways to keep your feet fungus-free, regardless of how physically active you are.
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Avoid Sharing Footwear with Others
Sharing footwear with others is likely to result in the formation of athlete’s foot, particularly if the shoes in question have soaked up a fair amount of sweat and bacteria. So, if you’ve fallen into the habit of sharing footwear with friends, family members or fellow athletes, it’s in your best interest to cease this behavior posthaste. No matter how close you are to someone or how confident you are in the general health of their feet, sharing footwear is a bad idea.
Alternate Your Footwear
Not only should you avoid sharing footwear, you should also make a point of regularly alternating your shoes. So, if you only have one or two pairs of shoes, take care to invest in a few more – especially if you do a lot of working out. Alternating footwear helps ensure that all of your shoes have ample time to air out before being worn again, thereby limiting sweat buildup and germs. In addition to buying yourself multiple pairs of workout shoes, give some thought to investing in antimicrobial activewear, as this is likely to provide added protection against fungal infections.
Avoid Being Barefoot in Public Spaces
Since athlete’s foot is contagious, it’s particularly important to protect your feet in public spaces – especially places where people have been known to be barefoot. Gyms, swimming pools and locker rooms are all prime examples of places where you’re likely to catch athlete’s foot. In the interest of avoiding foot fungus, make a point of wearing protective footwear whenever you’re present in such spaces.
Keeping your shoes and socks on when visiting the gym, for example, can be an effective way to protect your feet from floor-based sweat and bacteria. Furthermore, wearing protective flip-flops in locker rooms and gym showers largely serves the same function.
By the same token, if you share a living space with someone who’s currently suffering from athlete’s foot, request that they avoid walking around barefoot until such time as their infection has been properly treated. In addition, you, too, should avoid being barefoot in your residence while the infection is still active. For maximum safety, you and the affected party should also use separate bathmats.
If the person afflicted with athlete’s foot is your partner, ask that they avoid sleeping barefoot for the duration of their infection, particularly if you share a bed. You may also want to consider outfitting your bed with antimicrobial bed sheets, as these can prove helpful even after the infection has been treated.
Always Shower After Workouts
There are many reasons for which athletes should always shower after workouts. To start with, bathing is highly conducive to the prevention of body odor and can leave you feeling fresh and clean, regardless of how hard you hit the gym. Additionally, by preventing sweat and bacteria buildup, a good post-workout shower can effectively reduce your odds of developing certain fungal infections, including athlete’s foot.
Furthermore, when in the process of bathing, make sure to pay special attention to your feet. In addition to scrubbing your feet, take care to wash the spaces between your toes, as these are prime spots for athlete’s foot to form. Then, once you’ve finished your shower, dry your feet – and the spaces between your toes – as thoroughly as possible. The less residual moisture, the less likely fungus is to form.
Although it’s generally not considered a serious condition, athlete’s foot can be extremely bothersome. In addition to all the burning and itchiness associated with athlete’s foot, said condition is also contagious and not particularly pleasant to look at. Unfortunately, many people who exercise on a regular basis have simply resigned themselves to routinely contending with athlete’s foot. However, with a little bit of effort, you’re likely to find that remaining physically active and free of foot fungus is well within your capabilities.