Have you ever dealt with the pesky problem of athlete's foot? If so, you know how irritating and uncomfortable it can be. Here, we explore how to get rid of athlete's foot in shoes, so you can keep your feet healthy and happy.
Athlete's foot can be a nuisance, but don't worry – we've got your back! We'll talk about what causes it, how to prevent it, and most importantly, how to take care of your shoes to prevent the fungal infection.
If you want the best shoes that give you a fighting chance against foot infections, including this fungal infection, you've got to try Vessi. All Vessi shoes are waterproof, comfortable, and stylish to keep your feet in top-notch shape. Plus, they all come with antibacterial insoles to help stop the spread of fungus and bacteria.
But for now, let's ensure your feet stay fresh and fungus-free.
What Is Athlete's Foot?
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Athlete's foot is a pesky fungal infection that affects the skin on your feet. This foot fungus, also called tinea pedis, is caused by fungal spores called dermatophytes, which love the warm, moist environment inside shoes. If you've ever experienced itchy, red, and scaly skin on your feet, chances are you've dealt with this annoying condition.
The infection manifests in three ways:
Interdigital (toe web) athlete's foot: This is the most common form of tinea pedis and occurs between the toes, particularly in the webbing between the fourth and fifth toes. The skin becomes itchy, red, and scaly and may start to peel or crack. Sometimes, the skin can become soggy and can emit an unpleasant odour.
Moccasin-type athlete's foot primarily affects the soles of the feet and sometimes the heels and sides. The skin becomes dry, itchy, and scaly, resembling a moccasin pattern. Over time, the skin may thicken and crack, leading to discomfort and pain. Moccasin-type tinea pedis can also spread to your toenails, turning them thick, discoloured, and crumbly.
Vesicular (blisters) athlete's foot: It is less common and shows up as fluid-filled blisters on the feet. These blisters can be itchy and painful and may appear on the soles, between the toes, or on the tops of the feet. This type of foot fungus can also accompany a bacterial infection, which can cause the blisters to become red, swollen, and filled with pus.
Keeping your feet clean and dry is your best approach to prevent athlete's foot and other infections like toenail fungus. As mentioned, fungal infections like these thrive in damp, dark places, so taking care of your feet and shoes is crucial.
But how can this fungus spread through shoes? Well, when your shoes are damp, they become a breeding ground for fungal spores. This means that if you're not careful, the infection can transfer from your feet to your shoes and back again. Here's what you can do to prevent athlete's foot.
How to Prevent Athlete's Foot Fungus
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Since it is easy to catch athlete's foot, it helps to know how to prevent it from happening in the first place. Here are our best tips:
1. Prioritize clean and dry feet
Always keep your feet clean and dry. Wash your feet well with soap and water daily, and always let them dry completely, especially between the toes. While at it, change your socks frequently – damp or sweaty socks provide an ideal environment for fungus!
2. Choose breathable footwear
Opt for shoes with breathable uppers for your feet. Vessi shoes are the perfect solution! The waterproof, breathable footwear keeps your feet dry and comfortable. Thanks to our innovative design, your feet remain cool and well-ventilated, helping to keep athlete's foot at bay.
3. Protect your feet in public areas
Don't walk barefoot in public places like swimming pools or locker rooms. These spots can harbour fungal infections, so always wear flip-flops or water shoes for protection.
4. Air out your shoes
When it comes to shoe hygiene, airing them out is crucial. Let your shoes breathe by removing the insoles and allowing them to freshen up, particularly after an exhausting day or an intense workout.
5. Exercise caution in shared spaces
If a household member has athlete's foot, you have to be extra vigilant. For example, do not share shoes, socks, or towels, and clean common areas such as showers and bathroom floors daily to kill the spores.
6. Avoid wearing the same shoe daily
Doing so can trap moisture and create a breeding ground for fungi. Alternating between pairs gives your shoes enough time to air out and dry completely. Also, store your shoes in a dry and ventilated place. Doing so prevents moisture buildup, which can lead to fungal growth.
7. Wear moisture-wicking socks
For socks, materials like synthetic fibres, wool, or bamboo can draw moisture away from your skin, keeping your feet dry and less susceptible to fungal infections. In most cases, avoid cotton socks, as they tend to retain moisture, creating a damp environment that fungi love.
Effective Cleaning Techniques to Disinfect Shoes
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The primary remedy for this foot fungus is keeping your feet and shoes clean and dry. So, how can you clean your pair of shoes for the best foot health? Follow these simple cleaning steps to eliminate the fungus and mitigate athlete's foot symptoms:
Step 1: Remove insoles and laces
First, remove the insoles and laces from your shoes. This will make cleaning all the nooks and crannies where fungal spores might be hiding easier.
Step 2: Mix a cleaning solution
Mix some gentle detergent and warm water in a large basin or sink. Don't use harsh chemicals or bleach, which can damage your shoes.
Step 3: Gently scrub your shoes
Gently scrub the inside and outside of your shoes with a soft brush, paying extra attention to places likely to have come into contact with the fungus. This will help to remove any lingering fungal spores and prevent reinfection.
Step 4: Rinse thoroughly
Once you've scrubbed your shoes, rinse them thoroughly with clean water. Ensure you remove all soap residue, as any leftover detergent could create a breeding ground for the fungus.
Step 5: Dry your shoes
Dry the shoes in a well-ventilated area, but not in direct sunlight or heat, to prevent damage to the materials. Using a fan helps the shoes dry quicker.
Step 6: Clean insoles and laces
Remember to clean the laces and insoles separately. Soak them in the cleaning solution, scrub gently, rinse thoroughly, and let them air dry.
Step 7: Use antifungal spray (optional)
For added protection, you can spray the inside of your clean, dry shoes with an antifungal spray. Doing so can help to prevent future fungal infections. Also, consider UV shoe sanitizers to eliminate fungus and bacteria within minutes.
How to Treat Athlete's Foot
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Are you already struggling with this foot fungus? Here's what you can do for athlete's foot treatment.
Tip 1: Explore over-the-counter remedies
Many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments are available to help you combat the infection. Antifungal powder, creams, and sprays containing active ingredients like clotrimazole, miconazole, or terbinafine can effectively target the fungus. Keep to the instructions and apply the treatment consistently for the recommended duration.
Tip 2: Try home remedies
Here are some homemade treatments to help alleviate athlete's foot:
Make a foot powder from cornstarch or baking soda to absorb moisture and reduce the growth of fungi.
Use bitter orange oil: This essential oil has antifungal properties and can be mixed with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) and applied to affected areas.
Add baking soda to a foot soak to help neutralize odour and reduce fungal growth.
Apply talcum powder to your feet to keep them dry and reduce moisture, which can inhibit fungal growth.
Tip 3: Seek prescription treatments
Sometimes, home remedies and OTC treatments are not enough to eliminate the infection. If your athlete's foot persists or worsens, it's time to consult a healthcare professional. They may prescribe a stronger antifungal medication, either topical or oral, to help eradicate the fungal infection.
When using prescription treatments, always adhere to your doctor's instructions. Finish your meds, even if your symptoms seem to have disappeared. This will ensure the infection is gone and reduces the chances of recurrence.
Tip 4: Wear the right shoes
When dealing with infected feet, here are some key shoe considerations to keep in mind:
Opt for breathable materials like mesh or leather to promote air circulation and keep your feet dry.
Avoid wearing shoes with a narrow-toe box or high heels. These designs can exacerbate symptoms like blisters and calluses.
Get shoes with enhanced arch support and cushioning to relieve pressure on your feet.
Ensure your shoes fit well and are not too snug or loose, which can lead to rubbing and blisters.
Here are some examples of shoes suitable for infected feet:
Breathable mesh sneakers
Leather shoes, like loafers or oxfords
Supportive and cushioned running shoes
Wide-width shoes to accommodate swelling or bandages
Wear sandals with a secure fit and good arch support
Keep Your Shoes Fresh and Fungus-Free with Vessi Insoles
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At Vessi, we have the best solution for preventing sweaty feet and infected shoes: our antibacterial insoles! These insoles provide an added layer of protection against fungi and bacteria.
We design them to inhibit the growth of microbes, helping to keep your feet and shoes odour-free and fresh. By incorporating these insoles into your footwear, you'll enjoy an extra layer of defence against fungal infections.
Kicking Athlete's Foot to the Curb: Our Final Thoughts
Keeping your feet free from athlete's foot involves understanding the condition, adopting effective cleaning techniques, and practicing proper foot hygiene. By following our tips, such as wearing breathable shoes and maintaining shoe hygiene, you can significantly reduce the risk of fungal infections.