Also known as tinea pedis, Athlete’s foot is a type of fungal infection on the skin of your feet, and can potentially spread to the toenails and the hands. Though it’s called athlete’s foot due to being commonly found among athletes, you don’t really have to be an athlete to get this nasty condition. All it takes is good old moisture to allow the fungus to fester. Symptoms include a dry scaly rash that causes itching, stinging, and also burning.
However, as much as how much discomfort it may cause, it’s not exactly a serious condition either, though it can be very hard to cure, and if you have certain medical problems that can complicate your athlete’s foot, that might have to be dealt with by a call to the doctor. But usually, athlete’s foot is a manageable condition, with many home remedies available. Because athlete's foot is caused by a fungus similar to ringworm or jock itch, it can be treated with anti-fungal medications available over the counter. Plus, when all fails there are prescription drugs that can battle the fungus.
But as always, prevention is much better than treatment. That’s why paying attention to your socks is very important when it comes to athlete’s foot. You might be wondering, what do my socks have to do with that? Well we’re here to tell you that your socks have everything to do with athlete’s foot.
What causes Athlete’s foot?
Before we go into how essential our socks are to avoiding the condition known as athlete’s foot, let’s take a look at how athlete’s foot originates.
Athlete’s foot is a contagious condition, which means it can spread via physical contact with a person infected with the fungus, or through contact with contaminated surfaces. The fungus best grows and thrives in environments that are warm and full of moisture. We're talking showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools as some of the most common places you could catch athlete’s foot.
There are certain behavioral factors that will increase your risk of contracting athlete’s foot. Being barefoot in places where there is more likely to be contaminated surfaces such as the ones mentioned above, will increase the possibility of infection. Sharing anything, including towels or god forbid socks with an infected person will increase your risk for infection.
Other than that, having sweaty or wet feet for a long period of time also increases your risk for infection. Basically, anything that makes your foot a more welcoming environment for the fungus will increase the likelihood of catching it. And therein lies the key to why socks are such an essential part of keeping athlete’s foot away.
Why socks are key when it comes to Athlete’s foot
Socks are the first line of defense against athlete’s foot. Because athlete's foot is highly contagious, avoiding direct contact with contaminated areas, whether that be the floor of a locker room or a friend, is critical.
Thus, by wearing socks at all times you can significantly decrease your risk. You might feel ridiculous wearing socks at the swimming pool or the shower, but you need to keep a layer between your feet and whatever surface they touch. Consider sandals or flip flops if you find socks too weird.
Plus, socks are the first layer that touches our feet, and they have a huge influence on the kind of environment your feet can have. Remember how we mentioned that the fungus thrives in a warm, moist environment? Well guess what, not having the right socks will increase the amount of sweat and heat around your feet, and increase your chance of getting athlete’s foot.
1. Change your socks
We sweat a lot through our feet throughout the day, and that means your socks are getting wet. So change your socks during the day as many times as needed. Under whatever circumstances, whether from too much sweat, or from stepping in a puddle, if your socks get wet, switch them out for dry ones.
2. Get socks that handle moisture well
If you don’t want sweaty feet, wear the right kind of socks. Moisture wicking materials such as wool keeps your feet nice and dry. Otherwise, moisture absorbing materials like cotton are a good option also, but be sure to change them when they get wet. Compression socks are also very good at absorbing moisture on your feet because they fit tight against the skin.
3. Try socks with metal ions
Metal ions such as copper and silver ions are able to destroy 99.9% of the bacteria and fungus in its surroundings. Thus, they are the perfect antidote for fungal infections when blended into socks. Plus, because they eradicate odor producing bacteria, metal ion socks also help with stinky feet, keeping your feet fresh throughout the day.