Applies to: Foot/Ankle
Athlete’s foot (or tinea pedis) is a fungal infection that develops in moist areas on your feet, often between the toes. It is caused by microscopic organisms called dermatophytes, which live naturally on the skin and thrive in damp environments. It’s quite contagious and the most common type of fungal infection. It can easily be passed through direct contact with an infected person or indirectly via items such as shoes or hard surfaces. Athlete’s foot is closely related to other types of fungal infections like jock itch and ringworm.
Below are symptoms and signs commonly associated with fungal foot infections:
- Cracking or itchy skin
- Moist white sores
- Scaly lesions between toes
- Dry, scaly, reddish area on the bottom of the foot
- Blistering lesions
- Thick patches of dry red skin
- Burning sensation
- Symptoms spread to hands
There are many over-the-counter antifungal creams, powders, and sprays for mild cases of athlete’s foot. You should generally wear shoes that allow better air circulation, such as leather. Also, cotton socks that absorb moisture can help deter fungi from multiplying. If symptoms don’t improve with the use of store-bought products, then prescription oral antifungal medications may be needed. These are generally reserved for severe cases since they are expensive and can cause side effects that must be tested periodically.
NOTE: It is important to treat all areas of fungal infection simultaneously to avoid reinfection.