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Myths & Facts About Athlete’s Foot

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Myth 7: Athlete's foot only affects the feet

Athlete's foot can spread if you scratch the itch and then touch other parts of your body, including your groin (jock itch) and the skin under your arms. It can also spread to other parts of your body via contaminated sheets or clothing.

Myth 8: You can't get athlete's foot if your feet are covered in shoes and socks all day

The fungus that causes athlete's foot thrives in dark, damp places. Wet shoes and socks are the perfect habitat for these little critters. Your feet are safe inside shoes or socks -- as long as you keep them dry. Otherwise, let those toes out in the air.

Myth 9: Athlete's foot will clear up on its own

Without treatment, athlete's foot will make your feet even itchier and more miserable. It can also turn into a more serious infection if you don't take care of it. Antifungal creams and pills are the best treatments for athlete's foot.

Myth 10: You can stop using medicine as soon as your symptoms clear up

To prevent athlete's foot from returning, keep using the medicine for the length of time your doctor recommended.

Myth 11: Once you treat athlete's foot, it's gone for good

If only that were true. Even after it's been treated, athlete's foot can reappear if you don't take steps to prevent it.

Myth 12: To prevent athlete's foot, wear socks made of a synthetic material -- like nylon

The opposite is true. Natural fibers like cotton or wool are better choices than synthetic fibers, because they soak moisture away from your feet. The fungi that cause athlete's foot love to live in damp places.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on April 13, 2014

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