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Quick Facts

Athlete's Foot

(Tinea Pedis)


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Nov 2020| Content last modified Nov 2020
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What is athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that causes a rash on moist areas of your feet.

  • Athlete's foot is very common because water gets trapped in the warm spaces between your toes

  • It can spread from person to person in shared bathrooms, showers, and warm wet places

  • Keeping your feet dry lowers the chance of getting athlete's foot

  • Doctors treat athlete's foot with antifungal cream

What are the symptoms of athlete’s foot?

Symptoms include:

  • Itching

  • Foot rash

There are different kinds of athlete's foot rash:

  • Cracked, red, peeling skin between your toes

  • Thickened, scaly skin on the soles of your feet

  • Rarely, fluid-filled blisters

The cracks in your skin can let germs in and cause a bacterial infection of the skin of your foot (cellulitis).

How can doctors tell if I have athlete’s foot?

Doctors can usually tell it's athlete's foot by looking at it. To know for sure, doctors may take a tiny scraping of your skin to look at under a microscope.

How do doctors treat athlete’s foot?

Doctors treat athlete's foot with:

  • Antifungal creams to put on your foot

  • Rarely, antifungal medicines to take by mouth

Athlete's foot often comes back after treatment. You may need to take medicine for a long time.

How can I prevent athlete’s foot?

To prevent athlete's foot:

  • Keep your feet dry

  • Wear shower shoes or sandals at the gym or other public showers

Ways to keep your feet dry include:

  • Wearing open-toe shoes or shoes that let air circulate

  • Changing your socks often, especially during warm weather

  • Drying the spaces between your toes with a towel after bathing

  • Applying antifungal powders (such as miconazole), gentian violet, or aluminum chloride solution or soaking your feet in Burow solution

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