What is Athlete’s Foot


An athlete’s foot is a skin and foot infection caused by various fungi. It is also known as Tinea pedis. Tinea pedis can impact any portion of the foot, although it most usually affects the area between the toes. The athlete’s foot is characterized by red, itchy fissures or scales in the skin.

The infection spreads through contact with infected skin scales or fungi in moist places like showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. The condition is recurrent and can last for months or years. Topical creams applied to the skin’s surface or oral drugs may relieve the symptoms.

Athlete’s foot is a common ailment between 3 and 15% of the population is thought to be affected. It is more common in men and the elderly.

  • The prevalence of athlete’s foot is estimated to be around 10% worldwide.
  • Males are more likely to be infected than females.



Tinea pedis discovered by Pellizzari in 1888 and reported for the first time by Whitfield in 1908, has been affecting mankind for centuries. It affects the foot’s soles and its interdigital regions, and it is caused by a dermatophyte.  Trichophyton rubrum (T rubrum) for example, is a dermatophyte exclusively found in Asia, and regions of Africa, and Australia, it is of the most prevalent trigger of tinea pedis.

Diagnosis of athlete’s foot

Athletes’ feet can resemble many other skin conditions, so to differentiate them, one should know about other diseases that can create confusion.

The following are examples of tinea pedis differential diagnoses:

  • The erythrasma of the webspace is usually hyperkeratotic, but it can also be erosive.
  • Friction blisters and autoimmune blistering disorders might be confused with bullous tinea pedis.
  • Maceration with a mixture of microbes (mixed toe web infection)
  • Candidiasis is a parasitic infection that affects humans
  • Dermatitis due to contact (irritant, allergic)
  • Psoriasis – Psoriasis might be restricted to the soles or have a palmoplantar distribution.
  • Palmoplantar keratoderma is a type of keratoderma that affects the palms
  • Erythema multiforme is a kind of erythema.
  • Dyshidrotic dermatitis
  • Secondary syphilis
  • Keratoderma

For most cases, tinea pedis can be diagnosed depending on the distinctive clinical symptoms. Additional common areas for tinea pedis illness, including such toenails, groins, or palms of the hands, should indeed be checked for fungal infection.

Skin scrapings are sent for the microscope in potassium hydroxide and culture to make a diagnosis. If the inspection reveals characteristic fungal elements, cultivation may not even be required. It is done by the following procedure.

  1. A skin scrape from the top edge of inflammation is used to provide a conclusive diagnosis of the athlete’s foot
  2. Usually, skin cells are obtained by scraping them onto a microscope slide using a scalpel blade.
  3. The epidermis scrape is inspected underneath a microscope for the presence of hyphae using a potassium hydroxide (KOH) wet-mount reagent.


An athlete’s foot is a fungal infection produced by a dermatophyte, a form of fungus. Dermatophytes attack the skin, hair strands, and nails by infecting just the upper surface of decaying keratin.

The three genera of dermatophytes are Trichophyton, Microsporum, and Epidermophyton. The dermatophyte T. rubrum is most closely linked with the athlete’s foot. Different dermatophytes can cause the disease as well, and they are also less commonly recovered from individuals. T. rubrum spores can live on a human scale for almost a year, making it simple to spread from person to person.

Risk factors

The athlete’s foot is a condition that occurs when the tinea fungus spreads to the feet. Getting into physical contact with an infected person or contacting fungus-infested surfaces are the two ways to acquire the fungus. The fungus thrives best in warm, humid environments. It’s commonly found in restrooms, locker room floors, and swimming pools.

You’re more likely to get athlete’s foot if you:

  1. Wearing feet and ankles fully covered shoes a lot.
  2. Sweating profusely
  3. Hanging around with somebody with a yeast infection, share matting, blankets, bedsheets, garments, or shoes.
  4. Being frequent in public locations where the germ can transmit, such as locker rooms, spas, pools, community baths, and showering, going barefoot.


One or both feet can be affected by an athlete’s foot. The following are some of the most common indications and symptoms:

  • The skin between toes
  • Itching
  • Swollen skin can seem reddish, purple, or greyish.
  • burn
  • Ulcerations
  • The foot bottom skin is dry and scaly and extends up the other side.


It is infectious and can spread to certain warm, wet areas of the body. The fungus that causes an athlete’s foot is responsible for jock itch. Since the fungus can pass on fingers or towels, it’s normal for the infection to progress from the feet to the groin. Even in some cases athlete’s foot can develop secondary bacterial infections, Fungal nail infections, infected lymph system, cellulitis, and allergy.

What is the treatment for an athlete’s foot?

Athletes’ foot is routinely diagnosed with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antibacterial medications. If over-the-counter medications are ineffective, your doctor may also prescribe stronger and long-lasting antifungal medications.

Various antifungal drugs used to treat Athlete’s foot are over-the-counter drugs

Prescription Drugs

Athletes’ feet can be treated with various prescription drugs, which your doctor may prescribe.

  • Topical creams
  • oral antifungal medications
  • steroid medications

Home Care

Steps can be taken at home to treat the condition:

  1. Soap and water should be used to wash feet often.
  2. To get rid of blisters, soak your feet in salt water or dilute vinegar.
  3. Soak your feet in a tea tree oil solution.
  4. After bathing, make sure your feet are totally dry, particularly between your toes.
  5. Socks made of pure cotton
  6. Regularly changing your shoes and socks will help your feet stay dry.
  7. Do not share towels; they should be washed often.

Non-conventional therapy 

Tea tree oil was used as an alternative remedy to treat athletes’ feet with certain success. According to a 2002 study, a 50 percent mixture of tea tree oil efficiently healed athlete’s foot in 64% of trial participants Trusted Source.

Inquire with your doctor about using a tea tree oil treatment to treat your athlete’s foot. In certain people, tea tree oil can induce contact dermatitis.

Long-term prospects

Infections of the athlete’s foot can be mild or severe. Some go away fast, while others linger for a long period.

Antifungal medication usually works well for athlete’s foot infections. Nevertheless, fungal infections might be difficult to eradicate at times.

A lengthy antifungal treatment may be needed to prevent the recurrence of an athlete’s foot infection.



An athlete’s foot, incidentally, can affect anyone. it can cause dry patches, splitting, and itching on the sole and between the toes.

Dermatologists heartily recommend actions to lower the risk of contracting athlete’s foot:

  1. When going through pools, gymnasium, shower or dressing rooms, and hotel stays, wear bathing shoes or sandals. Bathing shoes or flip-flops are required even when going to the bathroom at a gym.
  2. Keep your feet clean and dry even if you haven’t gone barefoot in public. This fungus grows in warm, wet environments, such as those found within sweaty, heated shoes. When everything is hot outside, wearing heels or flip-flops is a good idea. Synthetic shoes, such as those constructed of plastic or rubber, are much prone to promote sweating.
  3. Each day, clean your feet with soap and air dry them fully.

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