For all you gym-goers, sports players, or swimmers it’s time to get the bare-foot truth about public showers and locker rooms. If by the end of this read you haven’t ordered some fresh flip-flops on amazon prime then there really is no help for you. Without further ado, let us dive into the facts.
Everyone knows fungus, viruses, and bacteria thrive in warm wet conditions. A barefoot public gym shower provides the ideal setting for fungus to mix, grow, and find a brand new home at the end of your ankles. Check the list below and remember them when you’re parading around the shower barefoot.
Nail Fungal Infections
Going into public showers barefoot puts you at risk for onychomycosis
, which is a nail fungal infection. This often causes the discolouration of toenails from a yellowish colour to brown and even black. Yes, that is a fungus.
Another favourite of the locker room this pesky fungus causes itching and burning between the toes and other dark areas of the feet. Whilst it can be treated it’s also highly infectious and can lead to a lot of discomforts.
Still going barefoot in the locker and shower? Then consider you’re inviting inward growing warts that like to fester beneath a hard, thick layer of skin (callus). Oh, and they are caused by HPV.
Pay attention! Staph infections are common but left untreated can become very serious and even life-threatening. The most serious version is MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), generally spread through cuts, abrasions, and skin-to-skin contact. Staph infections may however spread in the locker room through shared razors, towels, uniforms, or equipment.
Urine & Fecal Material (NASTY!)
Many people are visiting the toilet before they shower. Thus it’s not too surprising that strains of e-coli or other bacteria often make their way into the public areas. It’s pretty revolting to think that this material can get on your feet while showering at the gym.
Disgusting Bodily Fluids (IT GET’S WORSE!)
As you don’t know who’s been in the shower before you it’s worth remembering that all sorts of fluids can and likely are present in the shower at some point. Sweat, saliva, phlegm, mucous, and even semen. Wear sandals!
Hopefully, now you’re a bit keener to take care of your toes in the public arena. Next time you visit the gym be sure to pack your flip-flops and make sure you clean them after! It’s a very small price to pay to avoid the above…