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Athlete's foot

Athlete's foot: Introduction

Athlete's foot is a very common skin infection of the foot caused by tinea, a type of skin fungus.

Anyone can get athlete's foot, because it is spread easily from person to person by direct contact with the fungus or the skin cells from an infected person. Athlete's foot is commonly spread in such places as public showers, locker rooms, and on work-out mats and gym equipment. Because of this athlete's foot is common in athletes. It can also be spread by sharing contaminated shoes or socks.

People most at risk for athlete's foot include those taking strong antibiotics, especially for a long period of time. People with diabetes are more likely to develop athlete's foot because the elevated level of sugar in the body provides food for fungus and encourages its overgrowth. Other people at risk for athlete's foot and other fungal infections include the very young and very old.

In some cases recurrent athlete's foot and other fungal infections can be a symptom of a serious disease, such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes. People with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop athlete's foot and have recurrent bouts of athlete's foot. This includes people with HIV/AIDS, those taking steroid medications or undergoing chemotherapy, which all suppress the immune system.

Symptoms of athlete's foot include red and flakey skin and itching of the affected foot. Athlete's foot can increase the risk for developing a complication called cellulitis, especially in people who have diabetes. For specific information on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of athlete's foot.

Making a diagnosis of athlete's foot includes performing a complete medical evaluation and history and physical examination that focuses on the feet. Diagnosing athlete's foot can generally be done by visual exam of the foot. Diagnostic testing if performed includes taking a small sample of tissue from the affected area and examining it under a microscope for the presence of the tinea fungus. This is called a biopsy.

It is possible that a diagnosis of athlete's foot can be missed or delayed because symptoms may be mild and minimally bothersome in some people. In addition, symptoms of athlete's foot can be similar to symptoms of other skin diseases and conditions. For more information on misdiagnosis and disease and conditions that can mimic athlete's foot, refer to misdiagnosis of athlete's foot.

Athlete's foot can often be prevented by following simple hygiene measures and by keeping the feet clean and dry. Athlete's foot can generally be successfully treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications. Treatment must be followed consistently in order to cure the infection. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of athlete's foot. ...more »

Athlete's foot: 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 ... more about Athlete's foot.

Athlete's foot: Fungal skin condition typically of feet or toes. More detailed information about the symptoms, causes, and treatments of Athlete's foot is available below.

Athlete's foot: Symptoms

Symptoms of athlete's foot include redness, scaling and flaking of the skin of the affected foot. Athlete's foot also causes severe itching of the foot. The tinea infection that causes athlete's foot can spread from the skin to the toenails causing thick, yellowish toenails.

The itching and scratching of the feet due to athlete's foot can lead to raw, open areas and ...more symptoms »

Athlete's foot: Treatments

Athlete's foot can be difficult to treat and has a tendency to recur. The most effective treatment plan for athlete's foot uses a multifaceted approach. The first step in treatment is prevention.

Prevention and treatment measures include maintaining good foot hygiene. Tinea, the fungus that causes athlete's foot, grows best in areas that are warm and moist, so it is key to keep skin as ...more treatments »

Athlete's foot: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of athlete's foot begins with taking a thorough health history, including symptoms, and performing a physical exam that focuses on the area of the body that is having symptoms. A diagnosis of athlete's foot may be overlooked or delayed because symptoms may be mild in some people or may be attributed to other causes, such as dry skin, dermatitis, psoriasis, skin allergy, ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Athlete's foot

Treatments for Athlete's foot

  • Antifungal creams or powders
  • Good foot hygiene
  • Drying the feet
  • Avoid foot sweating
  • Socks made of natural fibers
  • more treatments...»

Wrongly Diagnosed with Athlete's foot?

Athlete's foot: Related Patient Stories

Alternative Treatments for Athlete's foot

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Athlete's foot may include:

Athlete's foot: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Athlete's foot:

Causes of Athlete's foot

Read more about causes of Athlete's foot.

More information about causes of Athlete's foot:

Disease Topics Related To Athlete's foot

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Athlete's foot:

Misdiagnosis and Athlete's foot

Leg cramps at night a classic sign: The symptom of having leg muscle cramps, particularly at night, is a classic sign of undiagnosed diabetes. However, there are also various more »

Psoriasis often undiagnosed cause of skin symptoms in children: Children who suffer from the skin disorder called psoriasis can often go undiagnosed. The main problem is more »

Athlete's foot: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Athlete's foot

Medical research articles related to Athlete's foot include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Athlete's foot: Animations

Research about Athlete's foot

Visit our research pages for current research about Athlete's foot treatments.

Clinical Trials for Athlete's foot

The US based website lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on for Athlete's foot include:

Prevention of Athlete's foot

Prevention information for Athlete's foot has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Athlete's foot.

  • Keep feet dry
    • Cotton socks
    • Careful drying of feet
    • Open shoes
  • Avoid infection of feet
  • more preventions...»

Athlete's foot: Broader Related Topics

Athlete's foot Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Athlete's foot, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Athlete's foot

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. (Source: excerpt from Keep Your Feet and Skin Healthy: NIDDK)

Definitions of Athlete's foot:

Dermatological pruritic lesion in the feet, caused by Trichophyton rubrum, T. mentagrophytes, or Epidermophyton floccosum. - (Source - Diseases Database)

Fungal infection of the feet - (Source - WordNet 2.1)


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