Football is back, America. It’s time to root-on our children during Friday Night Lights, scream for our alma mater on Saturday, and drive home the weekend with NFL Sunday. But for those of us actually playing football, the season additionally brings problems such as injuries and complications. One of these football related issues is athlete’s foot. Also known as tenia pedis, this contagious fungal infection affects the skin of the foot. Although not an extremely serious condition, athlete’s foot is easily contractible and can be quite irritating.
Causes and Symptoms
Athlete’s foot is simple caused by direct contact with an infected person or contaminated surface. It initially presents with an inching or burning sensation between one’s toes or on the sole of the foot. As the condition progresses, the skin can become cracked which may result in pain and discomfort walking. Unfortunately, athlete’s foot can also spread to the toenails if left untreated and will result in a discolored toenail that may become unattached from the foot.
Susceptibility and Prevention
Pesky fungi tend to live in dark, warm, and moist environments which indicates why the infection often presents on a person’s foot. However, football players may be more susceptible to athlete’s foot with the the combination of sweaty socks, thick shoes, and communal locker rooms. Simple preventative measures can be taken, though, that will keep you healthy and on the field:
- Frequently wash your socks in hot water
- Use odor eliminating, anti-fungal spray in your shoes daily
- Do not share socks and shoes with others
- Air your feet out after activities
- Wash your feet with soap each day (scrub between your toes!)
- Wear shoes in locker room and communal showers
Diagnosis and Treatment
Although various professional fungal tests do exist, doctors will often diagnose athlete’s foot from the symptoms. Fortunately, most cases can be easily treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal medication (usually topical creams) such as Laminal AT and others at your local pharmacy.