Ask the
Foot Doctors
Find Foot Practitioners
Near You
Foot Care
Feet Facts Blog

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's Foot
Source: See #5

Athlete's foot
is a fungus that causes redness and cracking of the skin. It is itchy. The cracks between the toes allow germs to get under the skin. If blood sugar is high, the sugar feeds the germs and makes the infection worse. The infection can spread to the toenails and make them thick, yellow, and hard to cut.

The list below contains links to several sources of information about this topic, of varying length and complexity of detail. Links to to source websites and / or other points of origin are provided below each write-up.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a skin disease caused by a fungus, usually occurring between the toes.

The signs of athlete's foot, singly or combined, are drying skin, itching scaling, inflammation, and blisters. Blisters often lead to cracking of the skin. When blisters break, small raw areas of tissue are exposed, causing pain and swelling. Itching and burning may increase as the infection spreads.

Athlete's foot may spread to the soles of the feet and to the toenails. It can be spread to other parts of the body, notably the groin and underarms, by those who scratch the infection and then touch themselves elsewhere.

The organisms causing athlete's foot may persist for long periods. Consequently, the infection may be spread by contaminated bed sheets or clothing to other parts of the body.

Daily washing of the feet with soap and water; drying carefully, especially between the toes; and changing shoes and hose regularly to decrease moisture, help prevent the fungus from infecting the feet. Also helpful is daily use of a quality foot powder.
  • Avoid walking barefoot; use shower shoes.
  • Reduce perspiration by using talcum powder.
  • Wear light and airy shoes.
  • Wear socks that keep your feet dry, and change them frequently if you perspire heavily.
Fungicidal and fungistatic chemicals, used for athlete's foot treatment, frequently fail to contact the fungi in the horny layers of the skin. Topical or oral antifungal drugs are prescribed with growing frequency.

[ Link to the Source ]

Athlete's Foot

Summer is also prime season for athlete's foot, a fungal infection that thrives in moist, damp places. To keep your feet fungus-free, follow these tips:
  •   Keep your feet dry and clean. Apply a topical antifungal medication on any cracking or peeling of the skin.
  •   Wear socks that are made of an acrylic fiber, not cotton (acrylic wicks moisture away from the feet), and change your socks at least once a day.
  •   Cover your feet with antiperspirant. The active ingredient, aluminum hydroxide, keeps your feet from sweating.
  •   Don't wear the same shoes every day. Shoes need about 24 hours to completely dry out from the last time they were worn.
  •   Be sure to wear flip flops or some other kind of shoe in the locker room.
[ Link to the Source ]

Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection. It can lead to intense itching, cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin, redness and scaling. It can occur on moist, waterlogged skin especially between the fourth and fifth toes, or on dry, flaky skin around the heels or elsewhere on the foot.

Once your feet have been contaminated, the warm, dark and sweaty environment of feet cramped in shoes or trainers provides the ideal breeding ground for the fungus. However, athlete’s foot also occurs in dry, flaky areas. It’s quite common in summer sandal-wearers. The sun makes your skin dry out, so it loses its natural protective oils; this combined with the constant trauma from sandals makes them more prone to infection.

Firstly, change your footwear on a regular basis. There’s no point sorting your feet out if you constantly re-infect them by putting them into damp, fungally infected shoes. It takes 24-48 hours for shoes to dry out properly, so alternate your shoes daily.

To help shoes dry out more quickly, take any insoles out. Also, loosen any laces and open your shoes out fully so that air can circulate. Go for trainers with ventilation holes.

If your shoes are so tight that they squeeze your toes together, this encourages moisture to gather between your toes and encourages fungus. Let air circulate between the toes by going for a wider, deeper toebox instead and choose shoes made from natural materials.

Of course, you should also change your socks every day too.

Wear flip-flops in the bathroom and in public showers. This will not only ensure that you don’t leave your dead skin around for others to pick up, but will stop you picking up another species of fungus! And never wear anyone else’s shoes, trainers or slippers.

For athlete's foot where the skin conditions are dry
If your athlete’s foot occurs on a dry area such as your heel, you need to restore moisture by rubbing in an anti-fungal cream or ointment. However, don’t forget to wash your hands thoroughly afterwards. Even better, use disposable gloves so you don’t get the fungus on your hands at all.

For athlete's foot where the skin conditions have been moist
This requires altogether different treatment. Wash your feet in as cold water as you can bear, as hot water only makes your feet fungus-friendly. Then dry them thoroughly after washing – preferably with a separate towel or even kitchen roll. Dab dry, don’t rub as rubbing tends to take away any healing skin. As the aim is to get rid of the moisture - although the skin may appear flaky and dry - never use moisturiser between your toes. Avoid powder too as it can cake up and irritate the skin.

You should be able to get rid of athlete’s foot on your own, but a podiatrist may help you pinpoint the best treatment for your particular type of athlete’s foot. Your podiatrist can also help if the fungal infection has spread to your nails, by reducing the thickness and cutting back the nails, thereby exposing the infected nailbed to a lighter, cooler environment.

[ Link to the Source ]

Athlete's Foot

This condition can cause a great deal of discomfort and can affect an individual's quality of life. The skin involved may be red, swollen and may contain sticky fluid. Patients may also experience a scaly dry rash on the bottom and sides of feet. This type of athlete's foot is called a "moccasin" pattern. Cracks or "fissures" can occur between the toes, sometimes with a accompanied soft white scale

Symptoms include dry and itchy lesions. Patients often report a burning or stinging sensation. A common associated condition with athletes foot is a fungal nail infection. If athletes foot is not treated the lesion can become infected and extremely painful.

Athletes Foot and Athletes foot treatmentAthletes Foot and Athletes foot treatment

athlete-footPhotograph 1 Shows the effects of an untreated athletes foot condition. The lesion has become infected and is very painful.

athlete-footPhotograph 2 Shows the effects of an athletes foot condition on the bottom surface of the foot.

[ Link to the Source ]

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is the most common term to describe a fungus condition involving the skin of the feet and toes. Another term is Tinea Pedis. However, that means a ringworm type infection and the term is misleading, since the organisms that cause it are not worms, but are fungus spores technically known as dermatophytes. A more appropriate name is Dermatophytosis. The three names above really mean the same thing.

The patient first notices an itching sensation, usually between the toes. The skin in that area may have small blisters and be peeling. A less itchy form of Athlete's Foot can appear as a dry, red peeling condition on the bottom of the foot.

athlete-footHow does it feel?
The skin may be red with scaling and there may be small blisters containing a sticky, clear fluid around the area. The skin may have a stinging or burning feeling. The area between toes may show peeling with cracks and redness and maceration (moist, white wrinkled area). Generally there is considerable itching.

Let's do a test!
If home treatment is unsuccessful, laboratory tests are indicated. Some scrapings from the skin are examined under the microscope and others are sent for a culture to determine which type of fungus is responsible. In some resistant cases, a secondary bacterial infection may develop and can be very serious.

How did this happen?
The fungi organisms that cause Athlete's Foot are microscopic and grow like small plants, surviving on the protein called keratin in dead skin. The source of the fungus is usually from the soil, an animal such as a dog, cat or rodent, or possibly from another person. Many people actually have the fungus on their skin but unless certain conditions are present, athlete's foot will not develop. These conditions include injury such as bruising or breaks in the skin. Areas of the body where moisture accumulates favor growth of these organisms, like between the 4th and 5th toes. The fungi thrive in a dark, warm, moist environment, which is often the case inside our shoes and socks. People who go barefoot all the time have little or no incidence of this problem. We don't know why some people develop this problem and others do not. Many times only one member of a family will have dermatophytosis, even though bathrooms and showers are shared. There may well be an individual predisposition to develop it.

What can I do for it?
At home, dust anti-fungal powders in your socks and shoes every day. Apply an over the counter cream two to three times daily. Wash canvas shoes frequently and change socks at least every day. People with diabetes or circulatory problems should take especially good care of their feet. If it persists over two weeks, consult your podiatric physician.

What will my doctor do for it?
First of all, they will examine you to determine if you have a fungus and not some other skin condition. After diagnosing the type of fungus, more effective topical preparations or possibly oral medications may be prescribed. If a secondary bacterial infection is present, culture and sensitivity tests may be necessary and antibiotics may be utilized. Although fungus infections have sometimes been very difficult to manage, new medications have been developed that are quite successful. Treatment should continue for a period of time after the symptoms have cleared to make sure it is gone.

Can I prevent it from happening again?
The best offense is a good defense! Use powder in shoes and socks. Do not wear synthetic or nylon socks that trap perspiration. Wear cotton to absorb moisture . Dry feet thoroughly, particularly between toes (consider a hair drier on low heat). Change socks and wash shoes periodically. Use your topical medicine and if it doesn't improve, check with your foot and ankle specialist right away.

athlete-footAthlete's foot
Author: Dennis White, DPM

[ Link to the Source ]

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a common, persistent infection of the foot caused by a dermatophyte, a microscopic fungus that lives on dead tissue of the hair, toenails, and outer skin layers. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments such as shoes, stockings, and the floors of public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools.

Athlete's foot is transmitted through contact with a cut or abrasion on the plantar surface (bottom) of the foot. In rare cases, the fungus is transmitted from infected animals to humans.

Dermatophyte (skin) infections cause raised, circular pimples or blisters that resemble the lesions caused by ringworm. The infections are named for the part of the body they infect; therefore, tinea pedis refers to an infection of the feet.

Incidence and Prevalence
Athlete's foot is most common in men from the teens to the early 50s. Prevalence is affected by personal hygiene and daily activity. People with compromised immune systems are at greater risk.

There are at least four dermatophytes that can cause athlete's foot. The most common is trichophyton rubrum.

Signs and Symptoms
There are four common forms of athlete's foot. Common symptoms include persistent itching of the skin on the sole of the foot or between the toes (often the fourth and fifth toes). As the infection progresses, the skin grows soft and the center of the infection becomes inflamed and sensitive to the touch. Gradually, the edges of the infected area become milky white and the skin begins to peel. A slight watery discharge also may be present.

In ulcerative athlete's foot, the peeling skin worsens and large cracks develop in the skin, making the patient susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. The infection can be transmitted to other parts of the body by scratching, or contamination of clothing or bedding.

The third type of tinea pedis is often called "moccasin foot." In this type, a red rash spreads across the lower portion of the foot in the pattern of a moccasin. The skin in this region gradually becomes dense, white, and scaly.

The fourth form of tinea pedis is inflammatory or vesicular, in which a series of raised bumps or ridges develops under the skin on the bottom of the foot, typically in the region of the metatarsal heads. Itching is intense and less skin peeling occurs.

People with acute tinea infections can develop similar symptoms on their hands, typically on the palms. This reaction, also known as tineas manuum, is an immune system response to fungal antigens (i.e., antibodies that fight the fungal infection).

Diagnosis is made by visual observation of the symptoms. Microscopic examination of skin scrapings is used to determine the type of fungus causing the infection and to rule out bacterial infection. Other tests include growing a fungal culture from skin scrapings and examining the patient's foot under an ultraviolet light.

Tinea infections may disappear spontaneously and can persist for years. They are difficult to treat and often recur. Best results usually are obtained with early treatment before the fungal infection establishes itself firmly. Antifungal drugs may be used to fight the infection.

Imidazole drugs combat fungal infections by attacking the enzymes of the fungal cell walls, inhibiting growth and reproduction. Two of these medications, clotrimazole (sold over-the-counter, Lotrimin®) and miconazole (contained in Lotrimin® and Absorbine Jr.®) are available in cream, powder, spray, or liquid form and can be applied topically and massaged into the skin. Side effects are rare and include mild gastrointestinal distress and liver/kidney enzyme problems.

Another imidazole drug, itraconazole (Sporanox®) is available in capsule form. Other preparations in this class include Desenex® and Tinactin®, which contain tolnaftate.

Allylamines can be used to combat stubborn tinea infections. These prescription drugs cause a buildup of compounds that are toxic to fungi, and include terbinafine (contained in Lamisil®) and naftifine (Naftin®).

In most cases, 4 to 6 weeks of treatment clears up the infection. If the infection becomes systemic, stronger antifungal medication may be prescribed. These drugs include griseofulvin (Fulvicin® and Grisactin®) and concentrated forms of terbinafine and itraconazole. Griseofulvin can cause side effects such as headache, nausea, and numbness, so it is used as a last resort.

If the infection is bacterial, oral antibiotics may be prescribed.

[ Link to the Source ]

© Canadian Federation of Podiatric Medicine 2010. Non-Profit Website by Yfactor Inc.