Athletes’ foot is not caused by work boots, but your work boots can increase or minimize your chances of contracting athlete’s foot.
Everyday 20% of Americans are infected with athlete’s foot.
This opportunistic fungus thrives in work boots and spreads to other parts of your body if left untreated.
As the joke goes, I used to dislike my foot fungus, but now it’s beginning to grow on me!
I’m sure you’re itching to know how to stop athlete’s foot from growing on you. Here are some tips you can’t do without!
In this article, we get to the bottom of:
- What athlete’s foot is.
- Common athlete’s foot myths.
- Athlete’s foot symptoms, causes and exacerbating factors.
- How you can avoid contracting athlete’s foot.
- How to stop athlete’s foot from growing in your work boots.
Our editorial body at MyBestWorkBoots goes all out to bring you the latest occupational intel. As a result, we’ve undertaken comprehensive research to assemble this all-inclusive assessment of whether work boots cause athlete’s foot.
Let’s get started.
What’s Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal foot condition. It’s medically known as tinea pedis. This skin infection involves fungal growth in the toe area of the feet, especially between the toes.
Tell-tale signs that you may have Athlete’s foot are itchiness, rash-like symptoms, peeling and cracking of the skin, and foot odor. If the situation worsens, it could spread to the toenails and the surrounding portions of the foot.
What Are Common Athlete’s Foot Myths?
Common Athlete’s foot myths are:
- Athlete’s Foot & Jock Are Not the Same Thing
- Regular Showers Can Prevent the Contraction of Athlete’s Foot
- Athlete’s Foot Is Caused by Poor Hygiene
- It’s Not Athlete’s Foot if Your Skin Isn’t Peeling
Let’s explore these in more detail.
Athlete’s Foot & Jock Itch Aren’t the Same Things
Athlete’s foot and jock itch are the same things. The fungus (called tinea) that causes the scaly skin patches that arise during Athletes’ feet and jock itch ARE the same things. These two conditions are given different names because of the different places on the body that this fungus grows on.
Athlete’s foot is the generic term for a tinea pedis infection on the feet. Jock itch is the name given to a tinea cruris infection in the groin area.
Regular Showers Can Prevent the Contraction of Athlete’s Foot
Regular showers can’t prevent the contraction of Athlete’s foot. Contrary to this myth, Athlete’s foot can be contracted while taking a shower and walking barefoot into a locker room.
Athlete’s foot can’t be cured by showering alone, no matter how meticulously you clean between your toes.
Poor Hygiene Causes Athlete’s Foot
Poor hygiene doesn’t cause Athlete’s foot. There’s no connection between Athlete’s foot and hygiene. It’s possible to get Athlete’s foot even if you wash your feet multiple times a day with soap and water, especially if you don’t dry them well after each cleaning.
It’s Not Athlete’s Foot if Your Skin Isn’t Peeling
It can be Athlete’s foot if your skin isn’t peeling. Some experience the symptoms of peeling or cracked skin between the toes, not all people. Others have redness or dryness on the bottoms of their feet that resemble dry skin.
Each person’s case of Athlete’s foot manifests uniquely. If you’re uncertain about whether your condition is Athlete’s foot or not, seek the professional advice of a doctor or a podiatrist.
Athlete’s Foot Clears up by Itself
Athlete’s foot will not clear up by itself; it’ll become a more serious infection if you don’t treat it.
Athletes’ foot is best treated with antifungal lotions, sprays, foot powders, and tablets.
Can Work Boots Cause Athlete’s Foot?
No, work boots can’t cause Athlete’s foot. Not directly anyway; your work boots can’t cause you to get Athlete’s foot on their own.
If you borrow someone else’s boots, which you shouldn’t do, you could contract Athlete’s feet from boots that are already infected.
But first, you must know
If you already have Athlete’s foot, work boots that are badly made or aren’t well looked after can cause your foot infection to worsen.
Keep reading to get survival advice on avoiding contracting this foot infection and what boots you should wear to keep any existing infection from worsening.
What Are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?
The symptoms of Athlete’s foot are:
- Skin Irritation: The skin on the soles of your feet and toes may develop a rash, redness and begin to itch, sting, or burn.
- Peeling Skin: The skin on your toes and feet may begin to peel, crack, flake, or get scaly. The foot areas most affected by these symptoms are in-between the toes.
- Foot Odor: Fungal problems like Athlete’s foot may cause bad foot odor. Smelly feet, or bromodosis as it’s medically known, happens due to the build-up of bacteria and fungus on the skin.
- Toenail Damage: Athlete’s foot can cause toenail discoloration, making your nail appear yellow, red, or brown. Toenails may also become thick, brittle, and detached from the nail bed. Once the fungal infection in the toes has affected the toenail, it can spread from nail to nail. When the toenails get brittle due to infection, these cracks make it easier for the infection to be housed, carried, and spread.
What’s Athlete’s Foot Caused by?
Athlete’s foot is caused by your feet coming into contact with infected skin or surfaces that have been exposed to the fungi.
Athlete’s foot can be contracted from many places, like locker rooms, swimming pools, and from wearing other people’s work boots!
There are a lot of different fungi that the feet can contract, but they all fall under this umbrella term “Athlete’s foot”.
What’s Athlete’s Foot Exacerbated By?
Athlete’s foot is exacerbated by moisture, sweat, work environments, heat, humidity, and non-waterproof work boots.
Moisture exacerbates Athlete’s foot because, for the most part, fungi thrive in warm, dark, and damp environments.
Sweat exacerbates Athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot flourishes in sweaty spots, like the spaces between the toes, the sweatiest parts of the body.
Hot & Humid Conditions
Hot and humid conditions exacerbate Athlete’s foot because they cause your feet to sweat.
Non-waterproof boots can make Athlete’s foot worse. You’re at greater risk of developing Athlete’s foot if your job requires you to work in water for lengthy periods of time and your boots aren’t waterproof.
How Can You Avoid Contracting Athlete’s Foot?
You can avoid contracting Athlete’s foot by keeping your feet clean and dry, avoiding high-risk infection areas, and keeping your feet cool.
Keep Your Feet Clean & Dry
Keeping your feet clean and dry helps to avoid Athlete’s foot. It’s best to wash your feet with warm water and soap every day to avoid contracting Athlete’s foot, ensuring that you dry them thoroughly. This may sound like an obvious fact, but it is not as easy as it sounds!
It is important to dry your feet thoroughly after washing them, paying particular attention to the areas between your toes. Leave no area slightly damp as this becomes the breeding ground for Athlete’s foot to flourish.
A separate towel for drying your feet is also recommended. Toenails should also be kept short and clean as they can harbor and increase infection.
Avoid High-Risk Infection Areas
Avoiding high-risk infection areas will help you prevent the contraction of Athlete’s foot. Stay away from walking barefoot in areas this fungus thrives in, like locker rooms, public foot baths, public showers, and public swimming pools.
Keep Your Feet Cool
Keeping your feet cool is another pro tip to avoid contracting Athlete’s foot; wear sandals as often as possible. Avoid wearing closed shoes with socks that don’t dry easily, like nylon socks.
And another thing, never wear dirty socks or boots even if they look clean!
How Can You Prevent Athlete’s Foot From Developing in Your Work Boots?
You can prevent Athlete’s foot from developing in your work boots by wearing the right shaped boots, wearing the right socks, wearing work boots made of the right material, and having more than one pair of work boots to wear to allow for alternating them.
Wear the Right Shaped Work Boot
Wearing the right shaped work boots, made of a flexible enough material to bend to the shape of your feet, will help to avoid the contraction of Athlete’s foot. Fungi will thrive in tight work boots that cause your toes to be squished close together because it grows in warm, dark, and damp areas.
Wear the Right Socks
Wear the right socks to avoid getting Athlete’s foot, preferably made of synthetic fibers. This is the best way to keep your feet dry because they keep moisture at bay.
Cotton socks are also great because they’re breathable, which means your feet stay cool and dry.
Socks should be changed once a day, maybe twice if your work is quite strenuous. You can encourage fungal growth if you keep your feet in sweaty socks.
Wear Work Boots Made of the Right Material
Wearing work boots made of the right material will ensure that your feet get enough air and don’t get too hot while working; a preventative measure against contracting Athlete’s foot.
Depending on the safety rules at your job, you may want to wear work boots made of leather or light and breathable canvas.
Having More Than One Pair of the Right Work Boot to Wear
Having more than one pair of work boots to wear will help you prevent Athlete’s foot from developing because you can alternate between them every day. This ensures that no one pair gets too wet or sweaty from too much use.
Should You Throw Away Your Work Boots if You Have Athlete’s Foot?
No you should not throw your work boots away if you have Athlete’s foot.
It is, however, vital to clean these boots thoroughly before you wear them again, as fungi can live in your work boots for months if left untreated.
What Can I Spray in Boots for Athlete's Foot?
You can spray anti-bacteria spray in your boots for Athlete’s foot.
Spray the inside of your boots, making sure you get to the toes and heels.
Also, you can put the spray or cream on a piece of paper and leave it on the inside of your boots for 24 hours.
Is It Hard to Get Rid of Athlete’s Foot?
It’s hard to get rid of Athlete’s foot; even with the right treatment, this infection can be quite a menacing occurrence to clear.
You need a suitable treatment for your feet and shoes and, ultimately, you will get rid of it.
If treatments from a pharmacy don’t work, or if the infection is causing you a lot of pain, you should seek help from a doctor.
Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Athletes’ Foot?
No hand sanitizer doesn’t kill Athlete’s foot!
Anti-bacterial hand sanitizer fights bacteria. In this case, fungi and bacteria are not the same things.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will make a difference, but it won’t be enough to fight off Athlete’s foot.
Using fungal infection sprays or creams can help treat the condition in the best way possible.
How Do You Prevent Athlete’s Foot in Work Boots?
You prevent Athlete’s foot in work boots by keeping your feet dry, wearing cotton socks, wearing breathable work boots, keeping your feet clean, and cleaning your work boots.
How Long Can Athlete's Foot Live in Your Work Boots?
Athlete’s foot can live in your work boots anywhere from six months to years.
It depends on how quickly you treat the affected feet and work boots.
Does a Boot Dryer Help With Athlete's Foot?
A boot dryer does help with Athlete’s foot because it gets rid of bacteria and fungus, which are common causes of bad foot odor and infection like Athletes’ foot.
Now you know that work boots aren’t likely to be the reason your feet get infected with Athlete’s foot, although they can contribute towards creating conditions where Athlete’s foot either flourishes or is kept at bay.
In many jobs that involve work in moist conditions, the chances of getting Athlete’s foot in your work boots are higher. Why? Because we’ve discovered that what this fungus likes is dark and wet places. So be sure to combat conditions that could heighten your chances of contracting Athlete’s foot from the start.