Athlete’s foot is common. Extremely common. In fact, more than 3 million cases of this fungal infection are reported annually - even renowned athletes like soccer sensation Christiana Ronaldo have been rumored to suffer from it. As the name suggests, the infection is often found on the feet of athletes and runners, and it be difficult to avoid and treat. So, if you’re a runner, athlete, or have kids who play sports, how can you avoid itching, burning, and stinging toes and feet? These 5 tips can help you prevent athlete’s foot, so you and your kids can keep running and playing sports without any discomfort.

  1. Don’t Skip Washing Your Feet Every Day. 
    This may be a no brainer, but one of the easiest ways to keep your feet healthy and infection-free is to thoroughly wash them with soap and water every day. It’s easy to skip over the feet and toes when washing in the shower, but taking the extra minute or two to wash between your toes can prevent athlete’s foot and help wash the tinea fungus away if your feet have caught the infection.

  2. Avoid Going Barefoot in Locker Rooms.
    Locker rooms, public showers, and pools are the most common places people contract athlete’s foot because the fungus spreads like wildfire in these warm, moist environments. If you take showers at your gym before heading to work or take your kids to the local pool often, make sure to wear sandals to avoid direct contact with the ground where the fungus may be lurking.

  3. Wear Socks and Shoes Made Out of Breathable Materials.
    Besides locker rooms and public showers, the tinea fungus likes to also grow in your own shoes and socks. Think about it. If you’re a distance runner, your feet naturally begin to sweat and turn your socks and shoes into a warm, welcoming environment for the fungus to thrive. Luckily, you can avoid this as much as possible by wearing running shoes made from porous material and socks made out of synthetic fibers that easily get rid of moisture. If breathable shoes alone aren’t enough, Powerstep’s Endurance Insoles and KidSport Insoles are made from high quality cushioning technology, are water resistant, and help prevent heat and friction to keep feet cool and dry.

  4. Air Out Your Socks and Feet on a Regular Basis.
    If you play sports or have kids who do, you know how easy it is to take off your sweaty socks after practice, throw them into your bag, and completely forget about them. This bad habit gives the fungus another place to spread, leading to athlete’s foot. Get your kids into the habit of cleaning out their sports bags and throwing their dirty socks into the wash when they get home from practice. It’s also helpful to walk around barefoot after showers and baths to let your feet air out and relax after a long day in uncomfortable shoes.

  5. Use Antifungal Powder as Much as Possible. 
    If your feet tend to sweat often or you’ve had a history of foot infections, antifungal powder is another powerful preventative measure. When used correctly, antifungal powder, spray, and cream keep your feet dry and relieve symptoms like itching and burning. Antifungal foot powders like Desenex or Lotrimin will do the trick if you want to take extra measures to prevent athlete’s foot.

If you or a member of your family is already suffering from athlete’s foot, continue to follow the preventative measures above and invest in an over-the-counter anti-fungal medication. If the infection persists or returns after treatment, visit your doctor to receive a prescription-strength anti-fungal medication. Don’t let athlete’s foot keep you from enjoying the sports and activities you love!