What is athlete's foot?

Athlete's foot is a fungal infection on the skin surfaces between the toes. Symptoms include: itching, small cracks, blisters and splits in the skin. Athlete's foot is one of the most common causes of itchy feet.

Athlete's foot, also called tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that affects the feet. It is most often found between the toes, but may also appear on other parts of the foot. The infection can result in scaling and a burning, itching, or stinging sensation. Athlete's foot is contagious and is often spread through use of shared facilities such as locker rooms.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

You may associate athlete's foot with dirty high school locker rooms gone by, but 20% of adults harbor the fungus that causes it.

What happens The opportunistic fungus tinea pedis sets up shop in the steamy, tropical conditions of your toes and feet and is spread by direct contact with another person or a surface that harbors tinea.

What it looks and feels like Red, irritated, peeling skin that sometimes develops oozing blisters and burns, stings, or itches.

How to treat and prevent it Over-the-counter antifungal powders and creams that contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or tolfnaftate are very effective. To prevent reinfection, use shower shoes around the pool or in your gym locker room, and wear moisture-wicking socks with shoes.

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Christopher Chiodo, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Athlete's food is a fungal infection that causes a moist, itchy rash, usually between the toes or on the sole of the foot. If you develop athlete's foot, you'll notice that the skin on your feet starts to develop white scaly patches or fissures, especially between the toes. As the infection progresses, the skin may turn red and become itchy. The skin will appear moist, not dry and scaly as in psoriasis. Small blisters may spread out across your foot, breaking to expose raw fissures that are painful and may swell. The area between the toes is most often affected, but the infection may spread to the soles of your feet or to your toenails, which can become thick and colored white or cloudy yellow. If you scratch your infected feet and then touch another part of your body, the infection may spread there as well. It can even contaminate bed sheets and reach parts of the body you're not aware of touching. In the most advanced cases, the rash will extend across the sole of your foot, and your feet may ooze pus and develop a foul odor.
Athlete’s foot is a very common rash on the skin of the foot. The fungus that causes athlete’s foot grows on warm, damp surfaces, such as around pools, public showers and locker rooms. The fungus can cause infection when it comes in contact with conditions that allow it thrive; for example, on bare damp feet.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.