Why Do I Keep Getting Athlete's Foot?

Apr 01, 2023
Why Do I Keep Getting Athlete's Foot?
Do you experience problems with athlete’s foot over and over again? It could be something else, or it could be you’re making some mistakes in your foot care routine that continue to cause the infection.

There are many types of foot issues that can—and likely will—affect you throughout your life. But if you notice scaly, peeling, itchy skin, your pain is likely tied to athlete’s foot. No problem, right? You treat it with some over-the-counter medicine and call it a day. But what if it keeps happening?

At Southwest Foot & Ankle, in Scottsdale, Arizona, we offer help for all types of foot and ankle problems. Athlete’s foot is extremely common, affecting 3-15% of people. For this reason, our providers, Petrina C. Lewis, DPM, FACFAS, and Mark T. Lewis, DPM, FACFAS, not only want you to know how to treat it but also how to prevent it from coming back. 

Recurring athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot — also known as tinea pedis — is an issue that can reoccur. Especially if you’re an active person who exercises or plays sports a lot, you may see this issue coming back again and again. 

But it’s important to rule out other possibilities. Sometimes eczema and other skin conditions can feel and look a lot like athlete’s foot, which may be why the over-the-counter creams aren’t working. 

If you’re sure it’s athlete’s foot and you continue to see it cropping up after treatment, it’s time to look at ways to change your behavior. 

Six reasons you keep getting athlete’s foot 

1. Your toenails are too long.

Keeping your toenails long could lead to continued infections. Long toenails easily shelter different organisms like the fungi that cause athlete’s foot. A good rule of thumb is to clip your toenails every six weeks and cut them straight across.

2. You don’t wear shoes where you should.

Walking barefoot around your living room isn’t much of a problem, but if you’re going to the local pool, the gym locker room, or anywhere else shared with lots of people, you should invest in sandals. Wearing sandals at these places can do a lot to protect you from infection. 

3. You don’t change your socks often enough.

If you wear the same sweaty socks two days in a row, your feet are always going to be slightly moist, which makes them an easy breeding ground for infection. What’s more, if your feet sweat more than most people’s, you might want to change your socks during the day or bring different socks for different activities — one pair for the gym and one for work. 

4. You share your personal items with others. 

Any time you share a towel, shoes, or other personal items with someone else, you’re risking the chance of infections spreading. It may be best to keep all your items to yourself to determine if someone else might be passing their infection on to you.

5. You don’t finish your treatment.

Some people start to see their athlete’s foot getting better, so they don’t finish their treatment regimen. Even over-the-counter medicines need to be used properly, which means finishing the cycle of treatment. Otherwise, your infection might keep coming back. 

6. You don’t disinfect your shoes. 

If you have athlete’s foot, one of the first things you should do (along with treating the issue) is to disinfect your shoes. Otherwise, you’re putting your foot into the same conditions as soon as you strap your sneakers on. It’s always a good idea to periodically disinfect your shoes, especially if you perspire and/or work out a lot. 

Avoid athlete’s foot and other foot problems

Maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve seen a podiatrist, and you’re ready to determine if your feet are healthy. If so, call Southwest Foot & Ankle today at 480-900-7399 or make an appointment online at your convenience. We’re here to help!