Athelete’s Foot

General Illness Information

Common Name:
ATHLETE’S FOOT

Medical Term: Tinea Pedis, Ringworm of the Feet

Description: A common, contagious fungus infection of the skin on the feet, especially the soles and skin between toes (often the 4th and 5th toes). It usually affects adolescents and adults. Usually occurs in warm moist weather

Causes: Caused by an infection by a fungus, usually Trichophyton or Epidermophyton that grows in warm moist areas between the toes.

Prevention:

  • Bathe feet daily with benzoyl peroxide soap.
  • Dry thoroughly between the toes and apply drying or dusting powder.
  • Wear rubber thongs or wooden sandals in public showers.
  • Go barefoot when possible.
  • Changes socks daily and wear socks made of cotton, wool or other natural, absorbent fibers. Avoid synthetics.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Itching in inflamed areas.
  • Moist, soft, gray-white or red scales on feet, especially between toes but may occur o n the lateral borders of the feet, heels and soles.
  • Dead skin between toes.
  • Damp musty foot odor.
  • Small blisters on the feet (sometimes).

Risk Factors

  • Infrequent washing of the feet.
  • Infrequent changes of shoes or socks.
  • Use of locker rooms and public showers.
  • Hot, humid weather.
  • People who are immuno-suppressed due to illness or medications.
  • History of atopic eczema.
  • Persistent moisture around the feet.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Diagnosis can be confirmed by sending skin scrapings from the rash to the laboratory for microscopic examination and also for fungal culture.

General Measures:

  • After soaking or bathing, carefully remove scales and material between the toes daily.
  • Keep affected areas cool and dry. Go barefoot or wear sandals during treatment.

Medications:

  • Anti-fungal powders, creams or ointments after each bath (as prescribed by your doctor).
  • For severe cases, you may be prescribed oral or more potent topical antifungal medications.

Activity:

No restrictions. Temporarily avoid activities that cause feet to sweat.

Diet:

No special diet.

Possible Complications:

Secondary bacterial infection in the affected area.

Prognosis

Usually curable in 3 weeks with treatment, but recurrence is common.