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health Encyclopedia

Athlete’s Foot

Also indexed as:Fungal Infection (Foot), Tinea Pedis
Athlete’s foot? The toes will tell you. A persistent, burning itch between the toes can send you running for relief. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
Athlete’s Foot: Main Image

About This Condition

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the foot that can be caused by a number of different skin fungi.

Generally, athlete’s foot does not cause serious problems; however, the disruption of the skin barrier can be a source of significant infections in people with impaired blood flow to the feet (such as people with diabetes) or in those with impaired immune systems. Infections of the nails are more difficult to treat than those affecting only the skin.

Symptoms

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include a persistent, burning itch that often starts between the toes. The skin on the feet may be damp, soft, red, cracked, or peeling; the feet may also show patches of dead skin. The feet often have a strong or unusual smell, and sometimes small blisters occur on the feet.

Healthy Lifestyle Tips

Keeping the feet dry is very important for preventing and fighting athlete’s foot. After showering or bathing, thorough drying or careful use of a hair dryer is recommended. Light is also an enemy of fungi. People with athlete’s foot should change socks daily to decrease contact with the fungus and should wear sandals occasionally to get sunlight exposure.

The information presented in Health Notes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals.