Athlete's Foot

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Learn how to prevent athlete's foot.

How to Prevent Athlete's Foot

The fungus that causes athlete's foot can be found on floors and clothing, and the organisms require a warm, dark, and humid environment in order to grow. The infection spreads by direct contact with contaminated surfaces or objects. As the infection spreads, it may affect the soles of the feet or the toenails.

Picture of Athlete's Foot

Quick GuideFungus Among Us: What to Know About Fungal Infections in Pictures

Fungus Among Us: What to Know About Fungal Infections in Pictures

Athlete's foot facts

  • Athlete's foot is a common disorder of the feet characterized by scaling and/or blistering of the soles, fissures of the toe webs, and itching.
  • When caused by a fungus, athlete's foot may spread to the palms, groin, and body.
  • Fungal infections of the feet are contagious and can be spread person to person or by walking on contaminated floors.
  • Other causes of athlete's foot include contact allergy, erythrasma, bacterial infection, pompholyx, intertrigo, and occasionally psoriasis.
  • When athlete's foot is caused by a fungus, it can be treated with antifungal medications, many of which are available without a prescription.
  • Keeping the feet dry by using cotton socks and breathable shoes can help prevent athlete's foot.
Reviewed on 7/14/2017
References
REFERENCES:

Canavan, Theresa N., and Boni E. Elewski. "Identifying Signs of Tinea Pedis: A Key to Understanding Clinical Variables." Journal of Drugs in Dermatology 14.10 October 2015: s42-s47.

Lin, Jing-Yi, et al. "Foot Bacterial Intertrigo Mimicking Interdigital Tinea Pedis." Chang Gung Med J 34.1 January-February 2011: 44-49.

Tlougan, B.E., Mancini, A.J., Mandell, J.A., Cohen, D.E., and Sanchez, M.R. "Skin conditions in figure skaters, ice-hockey players and speed skaters: part II - cold-induced, infectious and inflammatory dermatoses." Sports Med 41.11 Nov. 1, 2011: 967-984.

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