Athlete’s foot (Tinea pedis) is caused by a fungal infection on the feet. Common symptoms of athlete’s foot include itchy rashes, dryness or cracking of the skin on the bottom of the feet and/or between the toes. Despite the name, you don’t have to be an athlete to get athlete’s foot; this condition can affect anyone, but it is most commonly found among teenage males and young men. If you are a teenager dealing with athlete’s foot (or the parent of one), below are some helpful tips you can use to help treat and/or prevent this bothersome condition.

  • Fungus thrives in damp places, so be sure to dry your feet completely (including between your toes) when you get out of the shower. If you are physically active and sweat a lot, you may need to bring an extra pair of socks to change into after you exercise so that the sweat doesn’t settle in on your feet and create a moist environment. You can also apply some antifungal powder to your feet before putting on your socks to help keep them dry.
  • There are several over-the-counter antifungal creams, such as miconazole and clotrimazole, that do a good job of killing the fungus associated with athlete’s foot. It typically takes between 1 to 4 weeks of applying the cream to the soles of your feet and between the toes to fully eliminate the fungus.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, especially in public locker rooms, gyms and showers. These places are breeding grounds for all kinds of “fungus triggers”. Wear flip-flops or shower shoes instead.
  • Wear socks instead of cotton or synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon. Wool absorbs moisture much better than its synthetic counterparts or cotton.

The above tips are typically very effective in treating and preventing athlete’s foot, but if the fungus still stubbornly hangs around, consult with a podiatrist in order to knock it out for good.