Skepticism on Report of Rash of Yoga Mat Foot Infections

NEW YORK, Aug. 1 — A dramatic increase in foot infections from unclean yoga mats, reported by a podiatrist last week, remains a mystery to other podiatrists who have seen no such increase.

6 thoughts on “Skepticism on Report of Rash of Yoga Mat Foot Infections”

  1. Really? Because I have never had so many foot issues as I do now that I am full-on into a seven-day-a-week-mat lifetstyle. Cracks in the feet, a plantar wart here and there, big-time callouses that have led me to scrape mercilessly at the dead skin. I don’t go to a podiatrist for this. But I am here to report my anecdotal evidence that the foot issues are indeed issues.

    Who are these other podiatrists who do not report such increases?

  2. I’ve used rental mats for years at various Yoga studios without ever having such a problem, though I don’t really take outside classes that much anymore. But since I am barefoot much of the time while teaching, walking around floors and between mats, getting my feet dirty, my feet are much drier and need much better care than in the past. If you use a light-colored Yoga mat, you will begin to see just how dirty your own feet can be, so it’s no surprise if problems develop. And the more you practice, the harder it is on the feet. So it may not be those mats at all (though some of them clearly need to be tossed) but people doing more practice and not paying extra attention to the feet. In any case, you’ve certainly got a better shot at hygiene if you bring your own.

  3. This topic interests me as I recently had a student who came down with a strep infection on the side of her face, 24 hours after attending my yoga class and using a studio mat. (The class included a moving bhujangasana that involved placing alternate sides of the face on the mat).
    She spent 5 days in the hospital,including several days in the ICU, and $10,000 in medical costs. The emergency physician said that the cause probably was the mat she used.
    I have decided to no longer offer yoga mats for student use–I feel it is not a good idea to share them. You wouldn’t share a towel with a stranger, why share a yoga mat? I do not know of any studio that machine washes them after each use.

    I am thankful the student has recovered and is now attending my class at a different location. She, of course, has purchased her own mat. Please be aware that yoga mats may spread dangerous infections and warn your students as well.

  4. In a retreat center in Costa Rica we sprayed and washed down the mats after every use. It took a few minutes but it made us feel cleaner and healthier.

  5. Running a Yoga Center?
    If you have studio Yoga mats-
    get a washing machine and a dryer, wash and dry the mats at least once a week, rent them out or give them out, pay your electricity bills on time and make all the students “an offer they can’t refuse” regarding the purchase and use of a Personal mat.If they hesitate- talk to them about borrowing their brother’s sweaty sneeker for a jog around the block. it works.
    O thank you Ishvara for organic air-freshner!

  6. While I believe many of the mentioned issues could be caused by yoga mats, I have another theory to explain the increase in foot infections. While traveling yesterday, I was asked yet again to remove my shoes by TSI when walking through the metal detector. I was barefoot, and all I could think about was the NYTimes article. I will now always carry flip-flops to wear when I remove my shoes.–>

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