What is Athlete’s Foot?

Athletes foot

Athlete’s foot is a skin disease caused by a fungal infection, usually occurring between the toes, but can occur on the bottom of the foot in the arch, and sometimes on the sides or top.

The fungus most commonly attacks the feet because shoes create a warm, dark, and humid environment which encourages fungus growth. The warmth and dampness of areas around swimming pools, showers, and locker rooms are also breeding grounds for fungus. Because the infection was common among athletes who used these facilities frequently, the term “athlete’s foot” became popular.

Not all fungus conditions are athlete’s foot. Other conditions, such as disturbances of the sweat mechanism, reaction to dyes or adhesives in shoes, eczema, and psoriasis, may mimic athlete’s foot.

Signs and Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot

Itching and Burning Sensation

One of the earliest signs of athlete's foot is often an uncomfortable itching or burning sensation, particularly between the toes or on the soles of the feet

Scaly, Dry Skin

The skin may become dry and flaky, particularly between the toes and on the sides of the feet. This scaling can sometimes extend to the underside of the foot

Redness and Inflammation

Infected areas often appear red and may become inflamed, especially in more severe cases

Cracking and Peeling Skin

The skin might start to peel or crack, which can be painful and may lead to bleeding or secondary infections


Some people develop blisters that can itch and ooze, particularly when the infection is more severe


A noticeable foot odor can accompany the infection, due to the presence and activity of the fungus

Athlete’s Foot Treatment

If an apparent fungus condition does not respond to proper foot hygiene and self care, and there is no improvement within 7 days, call us. We will determine if a fungus is the cause of the problem. If it is, a specific treatment plan, including the prescription of antifungal medication, applied topically or taken by mouth, may be suggested. A biopsy of the area may be needed in some cases to determine if a fungal infection is present.

If the infection is caused by bacteria, antibiotics, such as penicillin, that are effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria may be prescribed.

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