Common Causes of Athlete’s Foot

Howard Finkelstein
With over 30 years of experience, Dr. Howard Finkelstein provides excellent care for those in our community.

It’s hard to believe it was only weeks ago when the 2016 Summer Olympic Games ended. During the competition, there were many memorable performances by world-class athletes. Big names like Phelps and Bolt, certainly delivered, but we also saw a rise of athletes like Simone Biles, Simone Manuel, and Ryan Murphy.

These individuals all worked hard to become elite athletes, and it could accurately be said they have “athlete’s feet”, but that isn’t what we mean (as podiatrists) when we start to look at the causes of athlete’s foot.

Common Athlete's Foot CausesTo develop a case of athlete’s foot, you do not have to be an athlete. Truth be told, you don’t even have to like sports. You will see that physical activities and athletic participation might increase your risk factor, but all you really need is an environment that is warm, moist, and hospitable to fungal growth – which can basically describe anyone’s feet confined in a pair of socks and shoes.

The root cause of any case of athlete’s foot is a fungus (the same one responsible for jock itch and ringworm). This fungal infection is contagious and spreads via contact with either infected individuals or contaminated surfaces and items, like towels and socks.

Risk factors that make it more likely for someone to develop a case of athlete’s foot include being male, wearing damp socks, sharing items with someone who has the infection, and walking barefoot in certain public areas that have the above-mentioned environmental traits for the fungus to survive. Gym locker rooms, showering areas, and indoor pool decks, are places where fungal infections are often contracted. So, in this sense, athletes can have a higher risk factor for the condition.

Your best bet for preventing athlete’s foot is to take measures like keeping your feet dry, wearing moisture-wicking socks, and protecting your feet by wearing sandals or shower shoes in locker rooms and public showers.

If you would like more information on the causes of athlete’s foot, or want to set up an appointment with one of our Florida offices, give us a call at 407-339-7759 or 352-589-9550 (if calling from Mt. Dora) and our staff will be glad to help. You can also request your appointment with any of our five locations—Lake Mary, Kissimmee, Orlando, Mt. Dora, Altamonte Springs—online right now.
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