Athlete’s Foot with Dr. Burk
Hi guys, Dr. Roman Burk coming at you from Rocky Mountain Foot and Ankle.
I’m frequently asked about the teenage smell factor. This usually comes out of the athletes’ that pile into mom or dad’s car after soccer or lacrosse practice has ended. They take off their cleats and all of a sudden, parents are overwhelmed with that terrible stench coming from the back seat, and ask the question, “What’s going on?” or “How come this is happening?” and it’s related to a very common issue that happens especially in this age group.
This condition is known as athlete’s foot. Why are these two related, you may wonder. Well, they’re both due to the fact that cleats play a major role in any athletes day to day activities. And unfortunately a lot of the synthetic cleat material that we use now is horrible at letting evaporation occur. So when kids in particular are sweating in their soccer, football, or rugby cleats whatever that looks like it is not able to evaporate. The accumulation of that moisture is a perfect breeding ground for two different types of life forms. Fungi and bacteria, both of which can emit a really bad stench that stinks up the car, causing you to roll down the windows. So, how do you help this, or how does anyone make a difference with this condition. It is important to note that when a child is in that cleat, their perspiration is unable to escape, and one of the most important pieces is letting the moisture escape and drying out the inside of the shoe. That is a horribly perfect place for bacteria; they love a wet dark warm environment as does fungus. So if you can help your child to dry out and rotate the shoe in such a way the inside doesn’t allow that accumulation to occur, that’s going to make a big difference. Another important thing is having the right socks. There are certain socks that will trap moisture inside versus those that will breathe. Usually we want to get rid of socks that will stay wet or damp that create blisters over a training period. But it is important to note there are socks with moisture wicking properties. That will help keep moisture away for the skin level. Washing the feet and bathing on a regular basis is important to this as well.
Something a little under rated is the use of an antiperspirant or anything that will help decrease the amount of sweat or perspiration created in the feet. People don’t often think about it, but antiperspirant works anywhere you put it on the body. If I wiped it on my forehead and went outside and played basketball, I would find I sweat everywhere except where I put the anti perspirant. The same is true of our feet. Put an antiperspirant on the feet and you will help decrease the amount of moisture that occurs there. These are all important pieces to help keep that “funk” level down and to prevent athlete’s foot from occurring on your child.
It should be noted that if they do develop an infection, starting with blistering or fraying skin, anything that looks cracked or even slightly blistered, may be the onset of what we call athlete’s foot which is a fungal infection that’s been able to occur in the skin layer because the fungus have not been able to leave. It is important to treat this early so it doesn’t spread as it will increase the odor factor and be another issue for the child’s skin even after the sport is over. One other important piece is to look at the kid’s feet from time to time. Is the web space between the toes wet, white, or blistering is present. What is happening there? Maybe take a look if you’re starting to see signs or symptoms that your child has something coming from the backseat that you don’t want to smell.
Hope that’s helpful! We’ll see you soon, thanks for watching.
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