A Answers (2)
Mehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answeredYou can often diagnose athlete's foot yourself. Common symptoms include itching and burning between your toes, and red, scaly cracked skin. In severe cases, you may have a blistering rash. There may even be a rash or scaling on the bottoms of your feet. Your feet also may have an unpleasant odor. If you think you have athlete's foot, you may opt to treat it with over-the-counter products. If the condition doesn't go away in a week or two -- or if a rash spreads to other parts of your body -- it's important to see your doctor.
In most cases, your doctor can diagnose athlete's foot (tinea pedis) by looking at your foot. He or she will also ask about your symptoms and any previous fungal infections you have had.
If your symptoms look unusual or if a previous infection has not responded well to treatment, your doctor may collect a skin or nail sample by lightly scratching the skin with a blade or the edge of a microscope slide or by trimming a nail. He or she will examine the skin and nail samples using laboratory tests including:
- KOH (potassium hydroxide) preparation, to confirm the presence of fungi.
- Fungal culture, to identify the type of fungus present.
In rare cases, a skin biopsy will be done by removing a small piece of skin that will be looked at under a microscope.
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