It seems logical that athlete’s foot would only affect athletes, right? But, you might be surprised to find out that you don’t have to be athletic to catch this infection. It’s true that athletes are more prone to athlete’s foot, a fungus that likes to grow in between the toes, because many athletes wear closed-toe shoes and tend to use community showers. However, anyone who does not take precautions to prevent this fungus can get it — even couch potatoes.
Dr. Ruth Thomas, UAMS orthopedic surgeon, says that athlete’s foot, which causes itching, stinging or burning, is common for people who wear closed-toe shoes and do not allow their feet to breathe.
“Athlete’s foot likes warm, dark, moist places,” Dr. Thomas says. “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.”
To safeguard your feet from athlete’s foot, make sure to change into dry socks after you have been outside, exercising or doing anything that can make your feet sweat. Dr. Thomas also suggests avoiding wearing the same shoes every day to give them time to dry out.
Other than your sweaty shoes, public showers and pools can be breeding grounds for this fungus. Wearing shower shoes such as flip-flops when using public showers or walking around public pools is necessary to protect your feet. Drying your feet after they get wet is also vital, and a blow dryer can even be more efficient than a towel.
“The most important thing is to make sure your feet are dried well after your bath and that there is no moisture remaining between your toes,” Dr. Thomas says.