What increases my risk for athlete's foot?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Coming in contact with tinea -- the fungus that causes athlete's foot -- increases your risk of getting athlete's foot. Tinea thrives in the moist areas between your toes, so doing such things as walking barefoot in public places, wearing socks for long periods of time, wearing socks without washing them between wearings, and borrowing another person's shoes, increase your risk. Using other people's towels also can increase your chances of getting athlete's foot. To reduce your risk, go barefoot at home so your feet can air-dry and wash your feet thoroughly when you take a bath or shower, making sure to wash between your toes. It's also smart to dry your feet completely before putting on socks and shoes, and wear flip flops in public areas such as locker rooms and around swimming pools. 

Walking barefoot in public spaces, especially warm and wet environments such as shared shower facilities, can increase your risk of catching athlete's foot. You are also at risk if you wear plastic shoes, or wear socks or shoes that are wet or too tight. Your risk is heightened if you use an object, such as bed sheets, that someone with athlete's foot has also used, or if you touch the other person's infected feet. Men and people with weakened immune systems are also at a higher risk for developing athlete's foot.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.