Splitting skin on the bottom of your toes after swimming can be bothersome, especially if it is painful. It can be caused by many factors, infections and conditions, some that require the attention of a doctor. Because symptoms can be extreme, it’s beneficial to understand why splitting skin develops after swimming and how you can treat it and prevent it from reoccurring.
Cracked skin on the bottom of the toes following your swimming routine can vary from mild to severe. Besides splitting skin, you can also experience bleeding, skin tightness, redness, extreme itching, peeling skin, fine lines, skin on the feet that looks dehydrated or shrunken, a rash or the formation of a substance that appears “cheesy” and unpleasant smelling between your toes.
Frequently swimming in pools that are heavily chlorinated can be irritating and cause the skin on the bottom of your toes to split open. In addition, if you frequently swim outdoors, the exposure to the sun and heat can dry out your skin and encourage irritation and cracking. Funguses and viruses that cause severe irritation and skin cracking, such as Athlete’s foot or verrucas, thrive on the damp and warm floors that surround a pool and can easily be contracted while entering or exiting the pool. Some conditions, such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis can be exacerbated by excessive exposure to water.
Thoroughly dry off your feet and between your toes with a towel immediately after you get out of the pool. Rub a thick moisturizer onto your feet and toes. Place an ice pack against the bottom of your toes to help soothe irritation and itching. Apply a hydrocortisone ointment to the broken skin and cover the wound with a bandage if severely irritated. Use an anti-fungal medication if you suspect a condition such as Athlete’s foot. See a doctor if your symptoms are extreme, prolonged or do not subside with home remedies.
Always wear flip-flops or sandals when you are walking around the pool area and shower room. Because fungus and bacteria can thrive on towels, never share your towel with someone else. Allow your feet and toes to dry thoroughly after swimming before you put on socks or shoes. Spray your shoes often with a disinfectant spray if you are prone to fungal or bacterial toe infections.