As days get cooler and shorter, we at Patrick Fettinger, DPM find that many patients move their fitness regimens indoors to local gyms and health clubs. This leads to a rise in the number of cases of athlete’s foot, warts and fungal toenails that we treat. Communal areas that are warm and moist are the perfect setting for infections to thrive. Below are some tips for keeping up with your workouts without contracting an unwanted skin or nail condition.
- Keep your feet covered. Wear shower shoes or flip-flops in gym locker rooms and showers. This is probably the single, biggest way to prevent fungal and bacterial infections. These types of conditions are spread by direct contact. You walk barefoot on a surface where someone else has deposited fungi or bacteria and you end up with an infection.
- Don’t share. Yes, generally not socially acceptable but when it comes to towels, soap, socks, nail clippers, emery boards and other items that touch someone else’s feet is a must for preventing fungal, viral and bacterial conditions.
- Keep feet dry. Wearing damp socks for hours can create perfect conditions for infections to develop. Closed shoes, warm socks and the heat going on in offices, cars and stores can all increase your risk. If you tend to sweat excessively, carry an extra pair of socks and change them as soon as you feel that they are damp.
- Practice good podiatric hygiene. Simply washing your feet daily with warm soapy water can go a long way to preventing infections. Be sure to dry feet completely, paying attention to the spaces between your toes as this is where athlete’s foot often starts.
Learn to recognize the signs of foot infections in their earliest stages:
- Red skin
- Dry or scaly skin
- Changes in color or texture of toenails
If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact our podiatrist, Dr. Patrick Fettinger, as soon as possible. Make an appointment at one of our two Connecticut locations: New Fairfield (203-746-9660) or Middlebury (203-598-0357).