Exercise and Fitness Guide

7 Tips for Avoiding Athlete’s Foot

Jackie Ho Jul 10th, 2014 (updated Jun 9th, 2015)
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Summertime is usually the time to kick off your shoes and have some outdoor fun. The last thing on most people's minds is worryig about developing some kind of foot fungus. But the heat and humidity of summertime provides a warm, moist environment in which fungi—such as the type that causes athlete’s foot—can thrive. Follow these tips for keeping your feet healthy and avoiding athlete’s foot.

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Don't walk barefoot in public areas
Don't walk barefoot in public areas

You may keep the floors in your home spic and span, but you just don’t know what’s lingering in public areas. To be extra safe, avoid walking around barefoot. It’s a good idea to wear flip-flops or other sandals when you’re at the pool, gym locker rooms, public showers and hotel rooms.

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Keep your feet dry
Keep your feet dry

If your feet are hot and sweaty, they’re more likely to help athlete’s foot fungus thrive. When it’s hot outside, wear flip-flops or other sandals, if possible. If you get your feet wet—either by sweating, swimming or showering—dry your feet and between your toes thoroughly.

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Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe
Wear shoes that allow your feet to breathe

Avoid wearing shoes made from synthetic materials, such as plastic and rubber. These types of shoes tend to restrict your feet from breathing and are more likely to cause sweating. If you must wear shoes that make your feet sweat, try switching to sandals when you’re driving or when you’re at work.

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Wear moisture-wicking socks
Wear moisture-wicking socks

If your feet are prone to sweat or you are doing vigorous exercises, it is best to wear socks that wick moisture away from your skin. Moisture-wicking socks can be found at many outdoor or running stores and range from lightweight to wool socks with varying degrees of padding.

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Avoid wearing the same shoes everyday
Avoid wearing the same shoes everyday

It's not a bad idea to alternate the shoes you wear each day, especially if you do a lot of physical activity or sweat a lot. This will ensure that your shoes are dry when you put them on. To be extra cautious, hang your shoes up where they can air dry at the end of the day.

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Don’t share anything with someone with athlete’s foot
Don’t share anything with someone with athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is potentially contagious, so if you live with someone who has it, avoid sharing towels, linens, socks and shoes. Be sure to wear shoes or slippers in the house, especially in areas where the infected feet have been.

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Use talcum or antifungal powder on your feet
Use talcum or antifungal powder on your feet

People who spend a lot of time with sweaty feet—such as athletes or outdoor enthusiasts—may benefit from applying antifungal powder on their feet. Talcum powder, which is made from the mineral talc, can also help keep your feet dry. Just be sure to buy non-perfumed powder if your skin tends to be sensitive.