Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis)

What Is It?

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a common foot infection caused by fungi called dermatophytes. Found in many different places indoors and outdoors, dermatophytes are especially common in the warm, moist environments of pools, showers, locker rooms and other sports facilities, where people walk with bare feet. Once dermatophytes contaminate the skin of a foot, the warm, moist environment of sweaty socks and shoes encourages them to grow.

Symptoms

Symptoms of athlete's foot include:

  • Intense itching of the feet

  • Cracked, blistered or peeling areas of skin, especially between the toes

  • Redness and scaling on the soles

In most people, signs of infection are seen on the webbed skin between the toes. In some people, the infection spreads to one or more toenails, causing the nail to appear unusually thick and cloudy yellow.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and about factors that make you more likely to develop athlete's foot, such as your use of public sports facilities, clubs or showers. Your doctor will ask about the type of shoes and socks you wear, what kind of work you do and what you wear on your feet to work.

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