More and more seniors today are staying physically active in their golden years, and that’s a good thing. But whether athletic or not, anyone can get a bad case of athlete’s foot, so practicing appropriate senior citizen foot care includes taking steps to prevent this affliction or to treat if it does occur.
What is it?
Athlete’s foot is a very common fungal skin infection which is easily spread. Some people are much more prone than others to contracting it. This means that some people can get a case very easily while others may never or rarely get it.
When a person has athlete’s foot, the skin on the feet and toes may peel or crack. It is usually accompanied by a strong itch and sometimes by a burning sensation. If the fungus spreads to the toenails, they often become very thick and then crumble and break off in flakes.
Athlete’s foot can often be spread by directly touching the feet of a person who already has it; however, it is more commonly spread from walking on surfaces on which a person with athlete’s foot has recently walked or by sharing clothing or towels used by an infected person.
There are several steps a person can take to lessen the chance of acquiring athlete’s foot, such as:
- Not sharing. Don’t dry off with a towel that has been used by another person (unless it has been washed since their use.) Sharing shoes, socks, or stockings is likewise not a good idea.
- Keep clean and dry. Keeping one’s own feet dry and clean is essential. Fungus grows easily in warm, moist places. Wet feet that go into socks and shoes without being properly dried are prime candidates for fungal growth. Wearing tight shoes that encourage sweat is also a bad idea. Another tip: have at least two pairs of shoes to wear, and wear them on alternate days. This gives each pair a chance to dry out in between uses.
- Air the feet out. Allow some time during the day for the feet to air out, bereft of shoes or socks.
- Watch out for locker rooms. Wear sandals while in the locker room to avoid stepping directly on areas where athlete’s foot-ridden feet may have already trod.
- Dress carefully. If a person already has athlete’s foot, they should dry the groin before the feet after bathing and should put socks on before putting on underwear. This can help the fungus from spreading to the groin, where it may develop into jock itch.
These simple senior citizen foot care tips can make a big difference in keeping athlete’s foot at bay.