Is There Fungus Growing in Your Socks?
We’ve all heard of fungus and know that it grows in tight, hot conditions. But did you realize that one of the perfect breeding grounds might be something you put on your body on a regular basis?
Socks are one of the best breeding grounds for fungus. When you’re exercising or moving around a lot, especially in hot conditions the feet can get hot, damp, and sweaty without being insulated. Your feet are stuck in your socks or shoes all day and aren’t being aired out, which can cause problems.
Are you wondering whether or not you have fungus, or how you can prevent it? You can find the answers to these questions below.
Why Does Fungus Grow in Socks?
The reason why socks are a good breeding ground for fungus is because the feet are often wet or damp, especially when they’re suffocated in socks or shoes all day. Not only can this cause odour and discomfort but these conditions create a breeding ground for fungus and bacteria to grow, which can lead to infections such as Athlete’s Foot or Onychomycosis.
Signs and Symptoms
There are a few symptoms that you have a fungal infection on your feet or toenails:
- Yellow, cracked or thick toenails
- Pain when wearing shoes
- Itching, burning or stinging sensations on the feet or between the toenails
- Dry, peeling skin on the feet
- Rash on the feet
- Strong odour
- Discolouration of the feet or toenails
Fungal infections are highly contagious and can easily spread from your feet to your hands or other areas of the body. Some people may have allergic reactions to fungus. It’s also important to treat fungal infections as they can spread and lead to cellulitis, a condition where the infection spreads to the bloodstream and lymph nodes. If untreated, the condition can potentially become life-threatening.
How to Prevent Fungus from Growing
There are measures you can take to prevent fungus from growing in your socks and stay healthy. These include:
Regularly Washing your Feet
It’s important to practice good hygiene and wash your feet every day, especially if you’ve been exercising or physically active throughout the day. Wash your feet with soap and water, and scrub the bottom of the feet, the top, and in between your toes. Make sure you dry your feet afterward, so moisture doesn’t build up once you put on your socks.
Wearing Clean Socks
While laundry can seem like a hassle sometimes and make you want to re-wear your socks, it’s important to change them regularly and make sure you put on a fresh, clean pair every day. If you don’t, sweat and moisture can build up and create the perfect breeding ground for fungus to grow.
Choosing Breathable Fabrics
Rather than picking out socks solely based on price or aesthetics, choose high-quality, antifungal material. This is especially important if you’re athletic or physically active so your feet can stay drier and cooler for longer periods of time. Some of the best, most breathable fabrics for socks are synthetic fibers such as CoolMax, Teflon, and Acrylic. Stay away from cotton, as once this material gets wet it tends to stay wet.
Avoid Walking Barefoot in Public Areas
Walking barefoot in public washrooms, gyms and swimming pools can increase your chances of infection. Fungus is contagious and by walking barefoot you can develop an infection, which can then spread to and contaminate your socks as you put them on. Make sure you wear sandals or slippers to help prevent infection.
Dealing with Fungal Infections
Treatment for fungal infections can be complex, depending on the severity of your infection. Treatment may include over-the-counter or prescription creams, medications, specific at-home remedies or alternative forms of treatment.
It’s important to speak to a doctor who will diagnose your condition and recommend a suitable course of treatment for you. Come book an appointment with Sheldon H. Nadal D.P.M at Bayview Medical Centre, a friendly and highly experienced Podiatrist will help you find the right solution.