Athlete's Foot Anna valdman

What is it?

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of the skin of the foot. Most athlete's foot is caused by one of two types of fungus.

  • Trichophyton mentagrophytes often causes toe web or vesicular (blisterlike) infections. The infection appears suddenly, is severe, and is easily treated.
  • Trichophyton rubrum often causes moccasin-type infections. This condition lasts for a long time (chronic) and is difficult to treat.

who is at risk?

Anyone can get athlete’s foot, but certain behaviors increase your risk. Factors that increase your risk of getting athlete’s foot include:

  • visiting public places barefoot, especially locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools
  • sharing socks, shoes, or towels with an infected person
  • wearing tight-fitting, closed-toe shoes
  • keeping your feet wet for long periods of time
  • having sweaty feet
  • having a minor skin or nail injury on your foot


There are many possible symptoms of athlete’s foot. You may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • itching, stinging, and burning between the toes or on the soles of the feet
  • blisters on the feet that itch
  • cracking and peeling skin on the feet, most commonly between the toes and on the soles
  • dry skin on the soles or sides of the feet
  • raw skin on the feet
  • discolored, thick, and crumbly toenails or toe nails that pull away from the nail bed


Athlete’s foot can often be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antifungal medications. If OTC medications don’t successfully treat the fungal infection, your doctor may prescribe topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal medications.

The topical treatment has a 70% cure rate, and are available over the counter (OTC), and requires only 1 to 4 weeks of therapy. The most effective treatment is oral terbinafine 250 mg twice a day for 2 weeks (94% clinical cure rate).


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