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.

Quick GuideFungal Infections: Fungus Among Us

Fungal Infections: Fungus Among Us

What does athlete's foot look like?

Most cases of athlete's foot are barely noticeable with just slightly dry, flaky skin. More extensive athlete's foot may look like red, peeling, dry skin areas on one or both soles of the feet. Sometimes the dry flakes may spread onto the sides and tops of the feet. Most commonly, the rash is localized to just the bottoms of the feet. The spaces between the toes also may have some moisture, peeling, and dry flakes.

There are three common types of fungal athlete's foot: (1) soles of the feet, also called "moccasin" type; (2) between the toes, also called "interdigital" type; and (3) inflammatory type or blistering.

Occasionally, it may appear as small or large blisters of the feet (called bullous tinea pedis), thick patches of dry, red skin, or calluses with redness. Sometimes, it may look like just mild dry skin without any redness or inflammation.

Fungal athlete's foot may present as a rash on one or both feet and even involve the hand. A "two feet and one hand" presentation is a very common presentation of athlete's foot, especially in men. Hand fungal infections are called tinea manuum. Fungal athlete's foot may also be seen along with ringworm of the groin (especially in men) or hand(s). It is helpful to examine the feet whenever there is a fungal groin rash called tinea cruris. It is important to treat all areas of fungal infection at one time to avoid reinfection. Simply treating the soles and ignoring the concurrent fungal infection of toenails may result in recurrences of athlete's foot. Continue Reading

Reviewed on 4/29/2016
References
REFERENCES:

Freedberg, Irwin M., et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 5th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 1999.

Purim, Kátia Sheylla Malta, and Neiva Leite. "Sports-related dermatoses among road runners in Southern Brazil." An Bras Dermatol 89.4 (2014): 587-592.

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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