Athlete's Foot

Is this your symptom?

  • Fungus infection of the feet
  • Causes itchy rash on the feet and between the toes

Some Basics...

  • Athlete's foot is an infection caused by a fungus. It grows best on the warm, damp skin of the feet and toes. It is also called "Tinea Pedis."
  • A person can get athlete's foot by walking barefoot in public showers or on pool decks.
  • It is a common problem. Up to 7 out of 10 adults have it at some point in their lives.
  • There are 2 kinds of medicine that work well in treating athlete's foot. Most healthy people can treat it by using an antifungal cream. Some people may need a prescription pill to treat it.

Symptoms

  • Red, scaly, or cracked rash between the toes. Sometimes, there can also be a rash on the instep of the foot.
  • Rash is itchy. Sometimes it burns slightly. When scratched, the rash becomes raw and weepy.
  • Feet may smell bad.

When to Call for Athlete's Foot

Call Doctor Now or Go to ER

  • Whole foot is red or swollen
  • Fever
  • You feel weak or very sick

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Pus is draining from the rash
  • Foot is very painful
  • You think you need to be seen

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Rash has spread to the top of the foot
  • Have diabetes
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mild athlete's foot

Care Advice

Treatment of Athlete's Foot

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Athlete's foot is an infection caused by a fungus. It grows best on the warm, damp skin of the feet and toes. It is also called "Tinea Pedis."
    • There are 2 kinds of medicine that work well in treating athlete's foot. Most healthy people can treat it by using an antifungal cream. Some people may need a prescription pill to treat it.
    • You can treat most cases of athlete's foot at home.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Antifungal Cream: Rub the antifungal cream on the rash 2 times a day. Keep using the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is gone.
    • Sold over-the-counter (OTC) in United States as terbinafine (Lamisil AT) or clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF) or miconazole (Micatin, Monistat-Derm).
    • Sold OTC in Canada as clotrimazole (Clotrimazole cream, Canesten, Clotrimaderm) or miconazole (Micatin Cream, Micozole, Monistat-Derm).
    • Terbinafine (Lamisil AT) is most recommended, but is not sold in Canada.
    • Read all package instructions.
  3. Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry:
    • Wash your feet 2 times every day. Dry your feet completely, especially between the toes.
    • Then rub on the antifungal cream.
    • Wear clean socks and change them 2 times a day.
  4. Avoid Scratching: Scratching the rash on your feet will delay healing. Rinse the itchy feet in cool water to calm the itch.
  5. How It Is Spread:
    • Athlete's foot is not easily spread to others.
    • The fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.
    • Adults with athlete's foot do not need to miss any school or work. You can keep playing sports.
    • Your socks can be washed with the regular laundry. They don't need to be boiled.
  6. What to Expect: With proper treatment, athlete's foot should get much better within 1 week and go away within 2 weeks.
  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Rash has spreading redness, streaks, or pus
    • Rash is not better after 1 week of treatment
    • Rash is not gone after 2 weeks of treatment
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

Prevention

  1. Avoid Being Barefoot in Public Places:
    • You can get athlete's foot from walking barefoot in showers or bathrooms.
    • You can also get it near swimming pools.
    • Wear sandals in public places.
  2. Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry:
    • Wash your feet with warm soapy water 1 time a day. Rinse your feet and dry them completely, especially between the toes.
    • Wear clean cotton socks and change them daily.

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.


Last Reviewed: 10/22/2017 1:26:01 AM
Last Updated: 5/7/2017 1:35:58 PM

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Athlete's Foot between Toes

A very common location for Athlete's Foot is the third, fourth, or fifth web space between the toes.

This image shows redness and breakdown of the skin from fungus infection.

Athlete's Foot

This image shows more extensive Athlete's Foot involving most of the bottom portion of the foot.

The primary symptoms are itching and redness.

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