This month I am going to briefly discuss an important condition for truck drivers: athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a common fungal infection of the foot that affects many people at some point in their lives.
Athlete’s foot easily spreads in public places such as communal showers, locker rooms and gymnasiums. As a result, this is very common condition for truck drivers as many shower at public truck stops or rest areas.
In most cases, athlete’s foot affects the spaces between the toes, but can spread to the rest of the foot including the toenails. This condition can be caused by several different fungi all of which thrive in warm, humid conditions.
Due to this, athlete’s foot often affects people who wear enclosed footwear such as work boots, for extended periods of time. Again, this applies to many truck drivers who must wear protective footwear during their work day.
The signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot can vary from person to person but most people report itching, stinging and burning between the toes, especially the fourth and fifth. Other people experience cracking and peeling skin most often on the soles of the feet. In rarer cases, the nails will become thick, ragged and/or discoloured.
You should seek medical help if you have a rash on your foot that does not improve after attempting self-care steps. In addition, you should see your doctor if you notice any major swelling or redness.
Once at your doctor’s office, he/she will take a detailed medical history to determine if your symptoms are being caused by athlete’s foot or by another skin condition. If necessary, your doctor may take a skin scraping to be viewed under a microscope.
If you do have athlete’s foot, your doctor may advise you to use an antifungal ointment, lotion, spray or powder. It is important to continue using these medications for a few days after the symptoms have cleared up to make sure that the infection is completely eradicated. Most cases respond very well to these medications.
However, if your infection does not clear up after using these topical medications, your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic.
Here are a few tips to prevent athlete’s foot: wear light, well-ventilated shoes/boots; wear sandals or shower shoes in public showers; keep your feet dry, especially between your toes; do not share shoes; and change socks regularly (up to twice a day during summer).
– Dr. Chris Singh, B. Kin., D. C., runs Trans-Canada Chiropractic at 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont.