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You don't have to be an athlete to be at risk for athlete's foot: It's a common condition, because everyone's feet get sweaty, and moisture breeds fungus. Treating it is easy enough, but preventing athlete's foot is simple, too. Good hygiene, above all else, is crucial to keeping your feet infection-free.
Cleaning your feet is important, but you can only do that so many times in a day. The most effective strategy for preventing athlete's foot is to keep your feet dry and eliminate the opportunity for fungus to grow and spread. When you're done bathing, you should not only dry your feet but make sure you towel off between your toes.
Wearing socks allows your skin to breathe, rather than clamming up as a result of direct contact with your shoes. The socks absorb the sweat your feet produce throughout the day, but you may want to put on a fresh pair after several hours of activity, to ensure you keep your feet as dry as possible.
Socks are important, but the way you treat your shoes plays a large role in athlete's foot prevention. After wearing (and sweating in) your shoes, allow them to air out for 24 hours before putting them on again, otherwise the moist material becomes a hotbed for fungi. You can use a shoe powder to accelerate the drying process, and foot powder can reduce the amount of moisture your socks and shoes collect while you're wearing them.
Athlete's foot isn't limited to your shoes: If you use public showers or locker rooms, avoid allowing your feet to make direct contact with the floor. Wet tile may harbor fungus left behind by an infected person, and it will eagerly transfer to a new host, if given the chance. Keep your feet protected with sandals or socks to protect yourself from picking up athlete's foot in public places.
If you develop athlete's foot, you can buy over-the-counter remedies or visit a podiatrist for treatment options. You can call the Lake Ridge or Stafford offices of Associated Foot & Ankle Centers of Northern Virginia to schedule a consultation. No matter your course of action, make sure you follow your podiatrist's instructions or the treatment directions to make sure you kill the fungus and minimize the chances of it returning.
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