My husband’s feet look scaly


Dear Foot Blogger Chick,
My husband’s feet look scaly and red and he says that they burn and itch.  I have no idea what he could have done to get this mess on his feet.  We just got back from a vacation where we spent a lot of time at a swimming pool.  Oh, he also bought some really ugly shoes that he insists on wearing all the time – I think they are made of some cheap material – they are blue (!).  I am just afraid that I could catch this from him.  So please, Foot Blogger Chick, let me know what to do about this.
                                                                              Scales in Paradise
Dear Scales,
Cheap blue shoes?  Are you kidding me?  When are you going to learn that you need to be careful with your feet!  Actually, I think you ought to re-think the whole hanging out with the guy in the cheap blue shoes thing.
Back to the subject of his scaly, burning, itchy feet, I think he may have a case of athlete’s foot.  Not very glamorous but he may be able to solve the problem pretty quickly.  There are a couple of things that he needs to do right away.  The first is to go to the drug store and pick up some medicated powder or spray (like Lotrimin Ultra, Lotrimin AF or Desenex, Lamisil AT or Tinactin) and start using whichever product he picks up according to the package directions.  He needs to wash and dry his feet twice a day.  He should make sure he really dries his feet.  Then he needs to put on a clean pair of socks that are made of natural fibers.  Natural fibers are cotton or wool.  (After hearing about the cheap blues shoes, you may need to buy him something made of natural fabric…)  If his feet sweat a lot, he needs to make sure that they are getting plenty of air circulation.  When he is at home, he should probably try and go barefoot or wear leather sandals.  Speaking of shoes (I was sort of) he needs to follow the 24 on 24 off policy with his shoes.  His shoes need to have time to dry out.  By rotating his shoes, they will get a chance to dry out.  This is actually something we all should do not just those with athlete’s foot.
That should take care of his problem but sometimes old tinea pedis (athlete’s foot) can be stubborn.  If that is the case with your husband, get him to the podiatrist.  The doctor can give him prescription medicine to fight the infection.  While athlete’s foot is a common problem, you do need to take care of it. Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection and anytime your feet have a fungal infection the skin can get broken down and that is an invitation for a bacterial infection.  ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE DIABETES!  If you do have diabetes, go to the doctor and make sure you are taking care of the infection quickly.
Of course, if his feet are red and swollen and feel warm to the touch you should get to the doctor pronto.  Don’t stop to try the over the counter medications just let the doctor decide the best course of action.
As to how he probably got the tinea pedis?  You mentioned going on vacation and spending time at a swimming pool.  This is the perfect place to pick up the infection.  Swimming pools and shower rooms are perfect breeding grounds for the infection.  Oh and then there is a bit of bad news – athlete’s foot is contagious.  Yes, you can get this infection from him either by direct contact (playing footsie counts) or by contact with his shoes, socks, using the same shower or bath towel.  So you might want to be extra careful so that you don’t contract tinea pedis yourself.
You can also look at the Evanston Podiatric Surgeon’s web site for additional information.  The section on athlete’s foot can be found at’sFoot.html
So, Scales, I think you better get your husband’s foot health to be a priority.  Throw out those blue plastic shoes, would you?  Just tell him the dog ate them.
Your pal,
Foot Blogger Chick
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to send them to or leave them in the comment section below.  I am not a doctor but I check with one before answering questions.
Trivia Question of the week– What are the three types of tinea infections?
Find the answer on our Facebook page – Evanston Podiatric Surgeons – on Friday, September 14th.  While you’re there, please take a moment to “like” us.
Follow us on twitter – @EvPodiatric and the answer will be tweeted on Friday morning.

To learn more about Chicago DPM, visit our About Us page or Contact Us Today!