Still Renting Your Bowling Shoes?

Bowling is now considered the nation’s number one participatory sport.  A recent Experian Simmons National Consumer Survey found that over 70 million people bowled at least once last year, with almost 2 million of those actively participated in leagues.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the majority of the 68 million people who only bowled recreationally, rented their bowling shoes.

bowling shoes

The cost to purchase your own bowling shoes starts around $28, with high-end shoes running into the hundreds.  So how can 60 million people be wrong about renting vs. owning?  Most bowling alleys rent shoes for about $3.  Not a bad deal, I guess, considering everything that comes with that pair of shoes:

  • Unlimited bowling
  • Fungus
  • Mold
  • Yeast
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses that lead to plantar warts

Yikes!  60 million people sharing the same shoes; probably not a good idea.  Well, they spray the shoes after each rental, right?  Have you ever seen them spray those shoes?  I have.  One quick spray inside the opening of the shoe; that’s it.  What about the rest of the shoe where most of the last person’s foot has been?  And who knows what was on their feet?  Were socks even on their feet?

In order to develop Athlete’s foot or fungus in the nails, you have to pick it up somewhere; walking around barefoot where other people do, such as at the pool, locker room, hotel room, and by WEARING OTHER PEOPLE’S SHOES!  So the best treatment is prevention.  If you have to rent your bowling shoes, make sure you protect your feet from the gnarly beasts that are likely residing inside by wearing socks.  Try not to walk around barefoot in the bowling alley or in any of the other places mentioned above.

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that comes in contact with the skin.  It causes itching, burning, redness and peeling skin on the bottoms of the feet and often between the toes.  Molds and yeasts can lead to similar symptoms.  These “dermatophytes” can spread to the nails and cause the nails to thicken, turn yellow or brown, and become crumbly, loose and overall unsightly.

If you do develop symptoms of Athlete’s foot, you can try an over-the-counter medication such as Tinactin or Lamisil-AT, but if it doesn’t improve within a couple weeks, see a podiatrist for more aggressive treatment before it worsens, or spreads to the nails.  Once the fungus has invaded the nails, treatment becomes more complicated and it can be more difficult to eradicate.

Topical medications for the nails may be effective if caught early, but generally, topical treatment is only 15-30% effective.  Oral medications are more effective, but also have the potential for side effects.  Blood work is required before starting treatment and is repeated one month after starting the medication.  Treating the fungal nails with a laser is the most effective treatment and does not have the potential side effects that can occur with antifungal pills.  Ask your podiatrist about appropriate treatment options for you.

Bowling with your friends and family can be a great time.  But you might want to think twice before putting your feet into shoes where so many other feet have been.

If you have symptoms of Athlete’s foot or fungal toenails, see one of our doctors at Kansas City Foot and Ankle to discuss the best treatment for you.