Athletes Foot Overview

Preventing Athlete's Foot

The most obvious way to prevent athlete's foot is also the most effective: Don't come into contact with it in the first place [source: Family Doctor, TeensHealth]. Take preventive measures to avoid exposing yourself to the fungus. Wear plastic sandals when you visit a locker room, public shower or public pool. Parents, buy your graduating senior a couple of pairs of cheap flip-flops before they go off to the dorms. Athletes, it's no coincidence that this is called athlete's foot -- many people who play sports tend to spend a lot of time with damp, sweaty feet and walking around in locker rooms and public showers.

Any kind of fungus will feel right at home in a warm, humid, dark place, but there are a few other things you can do to make your skin less a less attractive home to fungi.

  • Keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Change your socks during the day if they feel damp.
  • Take your shoes off when you get home, and let your feet feel the fresh air.
  • Try alternating pairs of shoes so that each one has a full 24 hours to dry, especially if you tend to have sweaty feet.
  • Avoid shoes that crowd your toes. If you can't wiggle the piggies, you're creating a cozy fungus home between your toes.

To increase airflow around your feet, choose shoes made of natural materials and avoid plastic or vinyl shoes. Socks made of cotton or special materials that remove moisture from the surface of the skin can also help your feet stay dry [source: University of Michigan Health System].

If you've had athlete's foot before and are trying to avoid a recurrence, use an antifungal powder on your feet each day. These powders keep the feet dry and inhibit the growth of fungus on your feet [sources: Mayo Clinic, WebMD].