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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: 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, ...more misdiagnosis »

Athlete's foot: Symptom Checker

Listed below are some combinations of symptoms associated with Athlete's foot, as listed in our database. Visit the Symptom Checker, to add and remove symptoms and research your condition.

Symptom Checker

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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, ...Athlete's foot Treatments

Some of the possible treatments listed in sources for treatment of Athlete's foot may include:

Review further information on Athlete's foot Treatments.

Alternative Treatments for Athlete's foot

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed as possibly helpful for Athlete's foot may include:

Stories from Users for Athlete's foot

Real-life user stories relating to Athlete's foot:

Athlete's foot: Animations

Athlete's foot: Comorbid Symptoms

Some of the comorbid or associated medical symptoms for Athlete's foot may include these symptoms:

Causes of General Symptom Types

Research the causes of these more general types of symptom:

Research the causes of related medical symptoms such as:

Causes of Similar Symptoms to Athlete's foot

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

Athlete's foot: Deaths

Read more about causes and Athlete's foot deaths.

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 other causes. See causes of leg cramps or misdiagnosis of more »

Causes of Athlete's foot listed in Disease Database:

Other medical conditions listed in the Disease Database as possible causes of Athlete's foot as a symptom include:

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)

Athlete's foot is a fungus that causes redness and cracking of the skin. It is itchy. The cracks... (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)

Detailed list of causes of Athlete's foot

The list below shows some of the causes of Athlete's foot mentioned in various sources:

How Common are these Causes of Athlete's foot?

This information refers to the general prevalence and incidence of these diseases, not to how likely they are to be the actual cause of Athlete's foot. Of the 6 causes of Athlete's foot that we have listed, we have the following prevalence/incidence information:

  • 2 causes are "very common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "common" diseases
  • 0 causes are "uncommon" diseases
  • 0 causes are "rare" diseases
  • 0 causes are "very rare" diseases
  • 6 causes have no prevalence information.

Conditions listing medical symptoms: Athlete's foot:

The following list of conditions have 'Athlete's foot' or similar listed as a symptom in our database. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.

Select from the following alphabetical view of conditions which include a symptom of Athlete's foot or choose View All.



Conditions listing medical complications: Athlete's foot:

The following list of medical conditions have Athlete's foot or similar listed as a medical complication in our database. The distinction between a symptom and complication is not always clear, and conditions mentioning this symptom as a complication may also be relevant. This computer-generated list may be inaccurate or incomplete. Always seek prompt professional medical advice about the cause of any symptom.


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Causes of Athlete's foot Based on Risk Factors

This information shows analysis of the list of causes of Athlete's foot based on whether certain risk factors apply to the patient:

  • Diabetes - history of diabetes or family history of diabetes?

    What are the alternative names for Athlete's foot:

    Tinea pedis
    - (Source - Diseases Database)

    Classifications of Athlete's foot:

    Medical Conditions associated with Athlete's foot:

    Fungal symptoms (22 causes), Foot symptoms (2265 causes), Leg symptoms (2751 causes), Limb symptoms (3592 causes), Infection (1293 causes), Lower leg symptoms (59 causes), Arm symptoms (1619 causes)

    Symptoms related to Athlete's foot:

    Skin rash (461 causes), Foot rash (21 causes), Foot itch (9 causes), Fungal infections (22 causes), Itchy toes, Fungal infection, Antifunal drugs, Tinea pedis (6 causes)

    Medical articles on signs and symptoms:

    Doctor-patient articles related to symptoms and diagnosis:

    These general medical articles may be of interest:

    Evidence Based Medicine Research for Athlete's foot

    Medical research papers related to Athlete's foot include:

    Research More Evidence-Based Medicine at

    Related medical articles from our Disease Center for Athlete's foot:

    More Ways To Research Medical Signs and Symptoms:


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