Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis, Ringworm of the Feet)
A common, contagious fungal (tinea) infection of the skin on the feet. It often affects the soles and skin between toes (often the fourth and fifth toes). It usually affects teens and adults (rare in young children).
FREQUENT SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Moist, soft, gray-white or red scales on feet, especially between toes.
Dead skin between toes.
Itching in inflamed areas.
Damp, musty foot odor.
Small blisters on the feet (sometimes).
Infection by a Trichophyton fungus. The germs can be spread by direct contact with an infected person or by contact with the germs on shoes, socks, shower, or pool surfaces. Animals can also carry the germs and infect a human.
RISK INCREASES WITH
Infrequent washing of the feet.
Infrequent changes of shoes or socks.
Use of locker rooms and public showers.
Hot, humid weather.
People who have immune system problems due to illness or medications.
Persistent moisture around the feet.
Bathe feet daily. Dry completely between the toes and apply drying or dusting powder.
Wear rubber thongs or wooden sandals in public showers.
Go barefoot when possible.
Change socks daily and wear socks made of cotton, wool, or other natural, absorbent fibers. Avoid synthetics.
Usually curable within 3 weeks with treatment, but recurrence is common.
A bacterial infection may develop in the affected area.
A skin rash can sometimes develop on the hands and face (rare).
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
After soaking or bathing, carefully remove scales and material between the toes daily.
Use a hair dryer to blow warm air on the feet to make sure they ae completely dry.
Keep affected areas cool and dry. Go barefoot or wear sandals during treatment. If socks are worn, keep them dry. If they get wet, change to dry ones.
See your health care provider if the symptoms are severe. Your health care provider can usually diagnose athlete's foot by looking at the affected skin area. Other skin tests may be done to rule out other skin disorders.
Use nonprescription antifungal powders, creams, or ointments (such as terbinafine) after each bath.
For severe cases, you may be prescribed oral, or stronger topical, antifungal drugs.
No restrictions. Avoid activities that cause feet to sweat until healing is complete.
No special diet.
NOTIFY OUR OFFICE IF
You or a family member has symptoms of athlete's foot that persist, despite self-treatment.
You develop a fever or the infection seems to be spreading.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.