Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is caused by several types of fungal organisms. It is quite common and usually easily treated. Two approaches, changing socks and shoes frequently and administering local medications, usually resolve infection.
Symptoms and Clinical Presentation
Most individuals note an itching sensation as well as cracking, peeling, or scaly skin. Athlete’s foot commonly occurs in the space between the toes. It can be more widespread and even cause blistering.
Cause (including risk factors)
Athlete’s foot is caused by fungi that thrive in moist and warm environments, such as showers and under socks left in shoes. Skin is the body’s natural barrier, and any break in the skin can allow an infection to set in.
The feet are most frequently affected because they are commonly covered by socks and shoes. This traps sweat against the skin and creates an environment where fungi thrive.
Diagnosis is typically made based on history, symptoms, and visual exam. Scrapings of the involved area may be needed, and these scraping can be examined under a microscope to see if fungi are present.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I prevent athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot cannot always be prevented. In general, keeping your feet as dry as possible through frequent sock changes, rotating shoes, and thoroughly drying after a shower will decrease your risk of infection.
*Source: American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society® http://www.aofas.org