Why Is Athlete’s Foot So Contagious?

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Why Is Athlete’s Foot So Contagious?

You may think you have to play sports to get athlete’s foot, but that isn’t necessarily true. As many as 3-15% of the population has this fungal infection. Athlete’s foot doesn’t usually cause serious medical problems, but it is uncomfortable, itchy, and ugly.

Athlete’s foot doesn’t usually resolve on its own. The team at Go Feet with offices in Mays Landing, and Linwood, New Jersey, provide treatment for athlete’s foot to resolve discomfort and prevent any complications, no matter how rare they might be.

Here’s how to avoid athlete’s foot, despite how contagious it can be.


The fungi that causes athlete’s foot thrives in moist environments, which are places that people usually go barefoot. You likely don’t think about catching athlete’s foot when you walk around a pool deck or visit a locker room or hotel shower, but it’s a very real possibility that you’ll come in contact with the fungi.

Even if the actual fungi isn’t on these surfaces, but instead can linger on these surfaces or on towels or in shoes left behind by infected people who leave their skin particles.

Athlete’s foot also thrives when your feet are sweaty. When you put damp feet into shoes, it’s the perfect environment for athlete’s foot to take hold.


Despite its high degree of contagiousness, you can take steps to prevent contracting athlete’s foot.

Always dry your feet with a towel after a shower or swimming, especially if you’re going to put shoes on right away.

Choose shoes that allow your feet to breathe, and alternate shoes so you aren’t wearing them day after day. Take off your shoes whenever you can so your feet can air out.

When you use a public shower or changing room or walk on the pool deck, wear flip-flops or water shoes.

Don’t share towels, socks, or shoes with others. Athlete’s foot spreads through all these items.


If you notice the symptoms of athlete’s foot, get treatment right away. Mild cases in healthy people often respond well to over-the-counter antifungal creams or sprays.

Athlete’s foot can affect one foot or both. Although there are different types of athlete’s foot, most cause symptoms like:

  • Small red blisters that form between your toes or on the soles of your feet
  • Dryness and scaling on the bottoms or sides of your feet
  • Itchiness or flaky skin between your toes

Take care of athlete’s feet when these symptoms are mild, to prevent infection or major discomfort.


If over-the-counter remedies don’t help, reach out to our office for other treatments. You should also call our office if you have diabetes and the rash looks swollen, feels painful, or oozes pus.

If athlete’s foot has spread to your hands or your groin, definitely contact our office.

Persistent athlete’s foot that won’t go away or that has turned into a fungal toenail infection also requires professional care from our team.


People with impaired immune systems or diabetes are at a greater risk of getting infected with athlete’s foot and suffering complications, especially if they have an open cut or sore on their feet.

Rarely does athlete’s foot cause serious complications in healthy people. But, it can spread to your toenails and cause a persistent fungal toenail infection. Athlete’s foot can also spread to other areas of your body, like the hands, but this isn’t common.

In very rare cases, athlete’s foot can lead to a bacterial infection.

Let us help you take care of athlete’s foot.  Call one of our convenient Go Feet locations in the Mays Landing, and Linwood, New Jersey areas, or use the online tool to schedule an appointment.