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Athlete’s Foot

Athlete's Foot Specialist NYCAthlete’s foot, called tinea pedis is a highly contagious infection that’s very common in the United States, with an average of three million new cases reported to foot doctors every year. It spreads easily, especially in locker rooms where men and women often walk around barefoot, thus the name “athlete’s foot.”

Athlete’s foot can strike at any time during your life, from childhood through old age. It’s a condition that most people diagnose for themselves, although treatment from an NYC foot doctor is recommended to ensure a complete reversal of the condition. This condition is easily treatable.

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

How It All Begins

Athlete’s foot derives from the very same fungus that causes jock itch and ringworm, which are other contagious infections commonly spread in changing rooms and public showers. The fungus favors conditions that are warm and moist, such as athletic facilities, pools and gyms. Even a tiny flake of infected skin that drops off an infected foot can jump on your foot. Being barefoot in these environments puts you at significant risk for getting athlete’s foot, according to a leading podiatrist in NYC.

The disease spreads quickly by:

  • Direct skin-to-skin contact
  • Contact with the fungus on a damp floor
  • Using a person’s towel who has the infection
  • Sharing shoes
  • Sweaty feet that come into contact with the germs

Signs and Symptoms

Very often, before you visit your foot doctor, it’s possible to misdiagnose a case of athlete’s foot. Common ailments that mimic the symptoms include:

  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Allergic reactions
  • Dry skin

Athlete’s foot can affect one foot only or easily transfer to your other foot, especially if you have a tendency to pick at and scratch your irritated skin. The most common signs your podiatry doctor encounters include:

  • Dry, scaly skin, usually between your toes
  • Burning and itching sensations
  • Peeling skin
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Cracked skin
  • Blisters
  • Itching that worsens when you take off your socks
  • Rash that won’t respond to self-care
  • Redness
  • Drainage

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.


While it may not seem like a serious condition for which you need to see a NYC podiatrist, athlete’s foot can indeed lead to more serious complications, such as:

  • Untreated, blisters can break, revealing raw tissue that can be significantly more painful.
  • You can spread the infection to people who may not tolerate infections well, such as those with compromised immune systems.
  • You may develop more serious symptoms if you have a weakened immune system due to an underlying condition, such as HIV or AIDS.
  • You can lose your foot if you have diabetes and don’t notice the changes because of a lack of feeling in your extremities.
  • If you don’t seek treatment from a foot doctor experienced in treating athlete’s foot, the infection may linger, affecting your quality of life.
  • Your toenails can get infected, leading to additional toenail problems. Once the fungus gets underneath your toenails, it can cause them to get discolored, crumbly and broken. The nailbed also can become inflamed and swollen, causing significant pain.
  • The infection can enter your bloodstream and cause cellulitis, which can lead to blood poisoning or bone infections.
  • You can pass the infection to your hands.
  • Jock itch may develop when you touch your genital area.

While anyone can get athlete’s foot, according to a leading podiatrist in NYC Dr. Jennifer McCoy, foot doctors typically see the condition in:

  • Men
  • People who don’t wear shoes in public places
  • Athletes who share shower stalls and changing areas
  • Those who wear tight socks and shoes
  • People who wear other people’s shoes or clothes
  • Those who share towels and linens with people who have athlete’s foot
  • Diabetics who don’t practice healthy foot care

Diagnosis and Treatment

Very often, a podiatrist can tell that you have developed athlete’s foot just by visually examining your feet. Tell your foot specialist about any instances where you may have been exposed to the fungus. Coupled with your recent history, your foot specialist should be able to tell what treatment protocol you need. To confirm his diagnosis, your podiatry doctor may take small scrapings of skin from your infected area to send to a laboratory for testing.

For a mild case of athlete’s foot, your podiatrist may encourage you to start treatment with an over-the-counter anti-fungal medication, lotion, powder or spray. You may need a stronger, prescription ointment if that doesn’t work in a few days. Antifungal pills designed to treat the infection are reserved for the most severe cases.

The Best Defense Is Prevention

While athlete’s foot may not be a serious condition for most people, the hassle and discomfort — not to mention the time and money you need to invest to see a New York podiatrist — mean more than a simple annoyance. But by taking certain precautions, you can avoid the irritable fungus. Consider these suggestions:

  • Protection: Cover your feet in public; use shower slippers or waterproof shoes at public pools, showers and locker rooms at all times.
  • Cleanliness: Change your socks regularly — twice a day if your feet sweat profusely.
  • Dryness: Dry your feet thoroughly. Foot doctors say this is the one step that many people forget. Take the time to dry between your toes after bathing.
  • Ventilation: Wear shoes that are well ventilated. Stay away from shoed that are all rubber or made of vinyl — they don’t breathe.
  • Powder: Apply anti-fungal powder to your feet, especially if you’re susceptible to foot problems.
  • Variety: Alternate your shoes; don’t wear the same shoes every day, especially for athletic events.
  • Sharing: Avoid sharing shoes or socks with anyone, whether you know them or not; sometimes people don’t even know when they have the early signs of athlete’s foot.
  • Sterilize: Use a shoe sterilizer if you spend a lot of time in locker rooms.

Regular checkups: Visit a podiatrist NYC regularly if you have a tendency to get athlete’s foot so that he can catch it in the earliest stages when it’s easier to treat.

All symptoms should always be evaluated with a thorough consultation and examination by your podiatrist for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan to exclude any underlying serious condition.

Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult foot doctor about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified podiatrist or foot specialist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

Do you have any questions about Athlete’s Foot prevention or treatment? Would like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized, top NYC Podiatrist and foot doctor, Dr. Jennifer McCoy of Manhattan Foot Specialists, please contact our office for consultation.

Manhattan Foot Specialists
Dr. Jennifer McCoy, Podiatrist (NYC Foot Doctor)

51 East 25th Street, Ste 409
New York, NY 10010

(Between Madison Ave & Park Ave)
(212) 389-9918

The information on this website is to provide general guidance. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive medical advice and self diagnoses should not be made based on information obtained online. It is important to consult a best in class podiatrist regarding ANY and ALL symptoms or signs as it may a sign of a serious illness or condition. A thorough consultation and examination should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call a physician or call our office today and schedule a consultation.