Sorry for being gross
February 14, 2013 5:59 PM   Subscribe

I think I have athlete's foot. How do I stay clean and keep my shoes clean?

I have a rash that appeared on the tops of my feet yesterday apropos of nothing. It could be eczema or some other contact dermatitis, or it could be fungal. I put a little hydrocortisone on it last night, and if anything, it's worse today. I'm going to try some athlete's foot stuff tonight and - please don't tell me to go to a doctor yet - if it's not better by next week, I'll go see my usual dermatologist.

But if it is athlete's foot or something similar, do I need to disinfect my shoes? Should I be wearing socks? I've been wearing moccasins for a couple days because socks are making my feet itchy.

Good people of Metafilter: How can I avoid reinfecting my feet with fungus (assuming that it's not eczema)? I don't want to throw out my shoes. They're nice, and I can't afford new ones.
posted by ablazingsaddle to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Athelete's foot likes it moist, so letting shoes dry in warm air helps. There's a medicated talc at the drugstore which pretty much stops the fungus when used in your socks and shoes.
posted by anadem at 6:43 PM on February 14, 2013

Vinegar clears up fungus.
posted by brujita at 7:01 PM on February 14, 2013

To clarify: I'm not looking for remedies or a diagnosis, but more for advice as to how to not spread this shit around. Some corners of the internet make it seem like fungus can just live in your shoes indefinitely. I would rather not have fungus-y shoes, as it seems like I would continue to have fungus-y feet if my shoes are contaminated.

Or is this total nonsense?
posted by ablazingsaddle at 7:05 PM on February 14, 2013

tea tree oil could be very helpful! or vinegar. or OTC stuff. in your shoes and on your feet. mostly keep it dry. i have had athlete's foot before and i didn't throw away the shoes. socks are a must. tea tree oil/water foot soak, as well as OTC creams, should clear it up in a few weeks. in the future powdering your feet and keeping them as dry as possible will help prevent.
posted by manicure12 at 9:10 PM on February 14, 2013

If it is athlete's foot, you are going to have to change the way you treat your feet and your footwear. I've written about this here before.
posted by seasparrow at 9:15 PM on February 14, 2013

If you have roommates, i'd be more aggressive with bleach/etc for cleaning the tub/shower fairly frequently.

I swear i re-acquired it this way a few times. I also swear it was anecdotal without a control group or actual evidence.

If you use the powdery foot treatments, rotate your among your footwear a bunch, my rough leather skechers shoes eventually had the powder soak through and make salt type stains in the leather.
posted by TheAdamist at 9:47 PM on February 14, 2013

If your schedule has you showering in any kind of communal facility (dorm, gym, etc), get a pair of cheap flip-flops and wear them into the shower. This is to protect you from other peoples' foot yuck and keep yours from spreading around.

For the love of all that's good don't forego socks. You need to keep your feet dry.
posted by trunk muffins at 5:31 AM on February 15, 2013

I was told by a doctor a few years ago that I did not have to discard my shoes. I had the same question!

It can be a long road to recovery. I found wearing clean socks, using both anti-fungal cream and powder helpful. I would also wash my feet twice a day and put on fresh socks. I found sandals or no socks made my feet sweaty, gross and then itchy. I never did anything to my shoes, but they certainly weren't damp. Re-infection always came from a shared shower.
posted by Gor-ella at 7:24 AM on February 15, 2013

Well, based on my internet research and the fact that this rash has gotten way better with hydrocortisone, I am pretty sure I don't have athlete's foot, but just in case, I will bleach the hell out my tub, make sure my shoes are dry, and try to bring myself to wear socks. (I'm a lady. I like wearing flats to work. I hate socks).

Thank you for talking me out of clorox-ing my shoes.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 3:12 PM on February 15, 2013

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