If your child’s involved in sports, chances are they’ve either had athlete’s foot already, or are at a high risk of developing it in the future. And while there’s nothing life-threatening about it, athlete’s foot is still very itchy and uncomfortable, highly contagious, and can prevent your child from performing at their best. So, let’s talk about how this pesky infection develops and how to avoid it.
What causes athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is an infection that occurs when fungal microbes on the foot are able to grow and spread due to conditions they find favorable. The recipe looks something like this:
Fungi + Moisture + Warmth = Athlete’s Foot
Because many different types of microbes naturally exist on the top layer of our skin, the fungi that cause athlete’s foot can already be present on our feet. In other cases, they can be picked up by walking barefoot outdoors, or around pools and locker rooms. Then, when we’re active and our feet are stuck inside our warm, sweaty socks for an extended period of time, the fungi spring to life and start to grow inside our skin. Yuck!
How can I stop that from happening?
Fortunately, athlete’s foot is very preventable! Here are some ways to disrupt the athlete’s foot recipe and keep this unpleasant infection far away from your child’s feet:
Take those sweaty socks off ASAP: This one’s usually the biggest culprit. When the game’s over, young athletes tend to leave their warm, moist sport socks on while they socialize with teammates, go for a post-game pizza, or even during a long car ride home. But when they do this they’re providing the foot fungi with the perfect conditions to grow! Make sure your child removes their socks immediately after periods of activity and allows their feet to dry completely.
Clean feet regularly: As mentioned previously, the fungi that lead to athlete’s foot can arrive on the feet at any time. Keeping feet clean as much as possible will reduce the presence of these fungi and lessen the likelihood of them spreading.
Wear breathable footwear: Not all shoes are created equal. When possible, buy shoes for your child that are well-ventilated, either with breathable fabric or with built-in air holes. Also consider investing in a good pair of open-toed sandals for your child to slip on after practice, and be sure to wash them regularly!
Make sure sport shoes are dry: Sometimes it takes a while for sneakers, cleats, and other sport shoes to dry out after an intense or rainy game. This means that if your child is playing every day, they could be putting on damp shoes before running out the door. Don’t let that happen! Putting on wet shoes or socks is just asking for athlete’s foot to rear its ugly head. Instead, speed up the drying process by placing shoes over an air vent, and/or use our moisture-absorbing Gear Therapy Pods to help soak up the wetness. Another option is to invest in a second pair of shoes so your child can alternate between pairs.
How can my child keep their feet clean on-the-go?
Cleanliness is a big part of athlete’s foot prevention, but when your child’s going straight from school to practice, or they’re at an all-day tournament, it’s not exactly possible to sneak in an extra shower. That’s why we recently created our Fresh Foot Spray! This product is a great addition to your child’s sports bag for a few reasons:
It cleans their feet: Spraying their feet down with our Fresh Foot Spray right after taking off their socks, and waving their feet around a bit to let it dry, is like a portable shower for your child’s feet! It sanitizes their dirty or sweaty feet, and has anti-fungal properties to remove any unpleasant fungi that may be hanging out.
It deodorizes their feet: Let’s face it — kids and teens are notorious for having stinky feet. In fact, we’ve heard many parents say they have to drive home from practice with all the windows down, and even then the stinky feet smell is still unbearable. Well, suffer no more! Our Fresh Foot Spray contains some of the same deodorizing ingredients as our Sport Deodorant in order to knock out odor-causing bacteria and make your ride home much more pleasant.
It soothes their feet: Knowing that young athletes’ feet can also get tired and sore, we went the extra mile with our Fresh Foot Spray and included some ingredients (such as Epsom salt) to soothe their feet, and also to relieve any after-sport itching.
Check out our Fresh Foot Spray below and help keep your child free of athlete’s foot!