Now that our kids are heading back to school, many of them will have to say goodbye to sandals and crocs in favor of closed toe shoes like sneakers. While these shoes offer better support for all the physical activity that takes place at school, during the hot days of August and September, it also means their feet will be stuck in sweaty sneakers all day. In those conditions, the kids are definitely at risk of getting athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that causes an itchy, burning rash to develop on your foot or between your toes.
Some signs that your child may have athlete’s foot:
- bumps on their feet
- cracked, blistered, or peeling areas, especially between the toes
- red or scaly soles
- strange odor coming from the feet
Many people think athlete’s foot is no big deal, and just try to treat it with over-the-counter creams, but it is a serious condition that should be treated by your Houston podiatrist. If left untreated, athlete's foot can spread all over the foot, into the toenail or even to other parts of the body like the groin or arm pit. Kids are more likely to see this kind of spread because, as much as we like to think they have perfect hygiene, they’re quite likely to scratch their feet then scratch other areas without washing their hands, allowing their infection to spread.
When you bring your son or daughter into my office, I can examine his or her foot and either confirm that they have athlete’s foot or else diagnose another condition—a rash on the foot isn’t always a fungal infection. If it is athlete’s foot, I’ll usually treat with a mild approach, especially for children’s feet.
While treatment is in progress, you’ll need to help your kids keep their feet dry, and encourage them to take off their shoes whenever possible, since the fungus can’t keep growing in dry, open air. If medicated powders or creams don’t clear up the infection, oral medication may be necessary.
While I can easily treat athlete’s foot, I’m sure you’d rather prevent your child from getting an infection, so follow these tips to stay-itch free:
- Choose shoes in natural materials like leather that let kids’ feet breathe.
- Buy cotton socks for your kids since they help soak up excess sweat.
- Take your kids shoes off when they get home from school. You can even spray them with disinfectant and let them dry outside for extra protection.
- Have kids wash their feet every day.
- Make sure they dry their feet completely, especially between the toes.
- Encourage barefoot time, especially before bed when feet are clean.
- Make sure kids don’t share shoes with friends or siblings.
- Regularly scrub bathroom surfaces in your home.