Diabetic-Related Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s Foot Is Often Mistaken For Dry Feet

Athlete’s foot is a common, fungal skin infection we see in our diabetic patients. A majority of cases begin between the toes and spread to the bottom of the feet.

Anyone can get athlete’s foot, but it is more severe for a diabetic. Naturally, patients with diabetes have a weaker circulatory system along with an impaired immune system. This causes a higher risk for infection. Athlete’s foot is a concern for diabetics because their skin lacks hydration, making dry skin prominent.

Athlete’s Foot Causes

Athlete’s foot is caused from fungus growing on the top layer of your skin. It is contagious and you can get it from touching the affected area of a person who has it, and more commonly, from contaminated surfaces such as damp floors in public showers or locker rooms.

Many diabetics confuse athlete’s foot as being dry skin on their feet. Because athlete’s foot has similar characteristics to dry skin such as peeling, cracking redness, blisters, breakdown of the skin, itching and burning, it is understandable as to why these two conditions can be confused.  If untreated, athlete’s foot can lead to a severe bacterial infection of the foot and leg.

Risk Factors

  • Men are more susceptible than women
  • Having athlete’s foot before
  • An impaired immune system
  • Living in a warm, damp climate
  • More common in adults than children

Depending on the severity of the fungus, athlete’s foot can lead to blisters, cracked skin and open wounds. With a diabetic foot, a wound as minor as a blister can cause a lot of damage. Diabetes decreases blood flow, which causes healing time for injuries to be slower.

Diabetes also enables infections to spread quickly, which is a concern as it is one of the most common complications of the diabetic foot. If an infection becomes too severe there can be extreme consequences, even as far as amputation.

Tips for Treating a Diabetic Wound

  1. Take care of the wound immediately. Even a minor wound as small as a blister or cut can become infected if bacteria are allowed time to build up after injury.
  2. Clean your wound. Only use water to get the dirt out and then apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection and cover with a sterile bandage. Don’t use soap, hydrogen peroxide or iodine as these can irritate the injury.
  3. Keep pressure off wound. If your wound is on the bottom of your foot, stay off of it as much as possible.
  4. Come see us. Don’t risk an infection. Minor skin problems or areas of interest before they become severe.

Prevent Athlete’s Foot from Occurring

You CAN prevent athlete’s foot from happening. A major prevention tip is to keep your feet dry and examine them each day. Fungus thrives in warm, damp areas.

Also, wear shoes or sandals that allow your feet to breath. Having a tight fit prevents moisture from escaping and creates an opportune place for fungus to live. It will also help to stay away from cotton socks! Cotton socks actually ABSORB your sweat and are slow to dry. If you wear cotton socks and don’t change them at least twice a day you can provoke blisters and provide a moist area for fungi to grow.

Bamboo socks are a great, eco-friendly alternative. Bamboo socks are woven from bamboo viscose fibers, which help pull moisture away from your feet. They also feel soft against the skin, repel odors-and contain antibacterial properties!

Socks that are specifically created with diabetics in mind are the best way to go though. Often they combine a high performance, moisture-wicking blend that also has compression qualities.

Summer is right around the corner. If you are going to enjoy a day in the sun around the pool, wear sandals in public damp areas such as the pool deck, locker room and public showers.

If you happen to get athlete’s foot, the good news is that it is treatable. Antifungal medicines are used on the skin as a first choice of treatment. These can be provided in prescription and nonprescription forms. If your case is severe enough, your doctor may prescribe oral antifungals. When treating athlete’s foot, it is critical that you use the full course of the medicine. If you stop taking the treatment because you see an improvement, there is a chance the fungi will return.

While patients with athlete’s foot are more prone to contracting it again, if you follow the preventative steps of cleaning your feet, making sure they are dry and checking your feet daily, your chances will decrease. You should also integrate a natural skin care line into your daily regimen that has both antifungal and antibacterial properties, like Doc Kelly’s Apothecary creams and soaps.



If you are experiencing foot pain, call our office or make an online appointment


Staff was extremely friendly and professional. They took us back immediately and no waiting for doctor to come in. Dr Settles-Carter was amazing with my little girl. She took her time and explained every detail to my daughter. As we were leaving my little girl said Dr Settles-Carter was the best doctor ever. Coming from a 10yr old.

Bert King

It took some work, and patience, but my feet are much better now. Dr. Freels worked with me to find exercises, and more importantly, the right shoe to wear. So nice not to dread going into work, for the pain of simply walking. Despite what another review here says, they've never tried to sell me any shoes there, have always left the choice up to me.

Robert Griffith

The staff was very courteous. However, the care provided by Dr. Carter and the staff in the back was exceptional! I finally had answers for my health concerns and issues and a course or plan of treatment including the costs of the services they provide. I especially liked the hours of operation...I can see a doctor for the treatment I need without having to use my personal and sick days! Love the flexibility. Lastly, the ambiance esthetics were relaxing and beautiful.

Bonnie Ogle Taylor

The entire staff at Lexington Podiatry was very welcoming and friendly. Jill went out of her way to make sure my daughter was taken care of. We appreciate being seen so quickly (it would have taken weeks to have seen an orthopedist for her foot injury). Now, she is on the road to recovery! Great office, thanks everyone!

Team Wade 24

Had a great experience! Everyone was very nice, it was clean, the doctor took time to listen to me. She showed me my x-rays and explained them to me. I would recommend them to family and friends.

Heather Purvis

Accepted Insurance Providers

There may be providers, plans and coverage not included on this list. We will help you with navigating the options for coverage and costs. We also accept HSA, Flex accounts, Care Credit and prompt pay pricing for treatment at the clinic and surgical procedures. We do not accept Medicaid plans at this time. Visit our New Patient page for more details.