Can foot moisture cause foot problems?

  • 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.

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Can foot moisture cause foot problems?

Doctor's response

While foot moisture is normal and usually harmless, it certainly can lead to foot problems. If the foot is constantly moist (for example, as a result of long periods of wearing closed-toed leather shoes), it can lead to breakdown of the tissues of the skin on the sole of the foot as well as on and between the toes. This can lead to irregular wear of the skin and callous formation. Repeated chronic foot moisture together with this breakdown of the skin of the foot produces the perfect environment for fungus to grow. The common ringworm foot fungus, tinea pedis, is the microbe responsible for athlete's foot. This can be treated with antifungal powders or creams. The growth of this fungus in the skin of the foot leads to redness, burning, and itching. Drying and cooling the foot, using socks or stockings, and using cooler footwear can prevent athlete's foot. For more, see athlete's foot.

Medical Author: William Shiel, MD, FACP, FACR

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018