Chicago Foot Doc

Dr. Walter Jacobsen – Podiatrist & Podiatric Surgeon


Winter Dry Feet a.k.a. Winter Tinea (Athletes Foot)

Is it Dry Feet or Athletes Foot?

Harsh winter conditions can cause a number of foot problems . . . one of which could be Winter Tinea (Athletes Foot)

I have many patients coming to my practice with complaints and concerns about dry, flaky skin on their feet in the winter months. While they may have a mild condition on other parts of their body, hands and face, most of the time (92%) it is just noticed on the feet. They realize that it’s from dry weather, low moisture in the air and things of that nature.

In my first year of practice my course of treatment was to prescribe various skin moisturizers, usually starting with inexpensive or generic brands. To my surprise and to my patients’ dissatisfaction, that course of treatment didn’t work. Not even when I instructed them to use the lotion right after bathing to “hold the moisture in.” Stepping up the quality and cost of the lotions seemed to have no effect either. I also use to prescribe products marketed especially to Podiatrists for dry feet. Those only had an effect on patients’ wallets.

I realize that people have several pairs of shoes for different purposes; high fashion, dress, office, work, casual around the house, beach and pool or park. However, when it is 5 degrees out and 12 inches of snow on the ground for two weeks, most people (I include myself here) have only one pair of foul weather boots or shoes. They are the ones you don’t wear until you have to because they aren’t very good looking, but one has to give up style to survive. The boots are usually worn all day for days and weeks on end in the snow and slush. And there’s where the problem lies. When worn inside they become warm and wet from perspiration, becoming an excellent breeding ground for fungus. When feet perspire in waterproof boots, this can cause maceration to the skin. Maceration is when the skin is over hydrated and turns white and starts to breakdown and cracks open leaving the skin vulnerable to infection.

This condition is really Tinea Pedis or Athletes Foot, as I quickly realized. No amount of petroleum jelly will do, an Anti-Fungal Dermal cream is needed along with the following treatment protocol that has helped thousands of people.

1.   Keep boots and shoes DRY. If drying them by the radiator, let them cool to room temperature before wearing.
2.   Keep the shower, tub and hard surfaces clean, shampoo traffic areas of carpeting also.
3.   House slippers should be washed in the washing machine twice a month, the plastic type washed and rinsed twice a month also.
4.   Change sheets twice a week and wear socks to bed (color doesn’t matter); cotton or a moisture wicking athletic type works well.
5.   Use a good over-the-counter anti-fungal cream or lotion twice a day and rub it in well.

Tinea Pedis or Athletes Foot for many is not a joke (Jay Leno and Maddona take note), it can be very annoying, even painful. My patients tell me the itching can affect their concentration and can make them short tempered. Teines Pedis is a serious condition that can lead to cracking or fissuring of the skin, secondary bacterial infection that can lead to surgical incision and drainage, hospitalization and intravenous antibiotics. (Are you still laughing Jay?) Many serious skin conditions can be mistaken for Tinea Pedis and this information is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition.

My offices offer a free consultation, if you have any questions feel free to contact me and I will be happy to provide a brief examination to address your concerns and answer your questions.


5 Responses to “Winter Dry Feet a.k.a. Winter Tinea (Athletes Foot)”

  1. February 9th, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Ugly Winter Feet says:

    Thanks for the tips on dry winter feet. I didn’t realize that it could be fungus.

    What about darkened toe nails?

  2. April 24th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    Airetta Ramey says:

    Dr. J
    Thanks for the service yesterday. You were 90% correct when you informed me that my feet would feel much better in a couple of days. The treatment did not take days – it only took hours.

    I woke up this morning and I was very pleased with the lack of pain in my feet.

    Having used the services of two other podiatrists, you are first to actually treat my problem.

    I look forward to returning to your services in the future.

  3. June 4th, 2009 at 10:25 pm

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  4. June 5th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

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  5. December 15th, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    Amy says:

    Thanks so much! I have consistently been getting athlete’s foot every winter.. it’s good to know that it’s not just me! I have been putting underarm antiperspirant with aluminum on my feet, and that has seemed to help a lot.

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