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Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the foot. It can spread to the toenail and the hands. It is also called Tinea pedis or ringworm of the foot. It can be contacted by direct contact with an infected people or contaminated objects such as towel or soil.

You should call your doctor if you have athlete’s foot and diabetic. Recurrent athlete’s foot might suggest low immune status.



  1. Visiting public places bare footed eg swimming pool, shower etc.
  2. Sharing towel, shoes and socks with infected person.
  3. Wearing tight-fitting, close-toes shoes.
  4. Keeping your feet wet for long period of time
  5. Having sweaty feet
  6. Having diabetes or a weak immune system.



Athlete’s foot usually causes a scaly red rash. The rash typically begins in between the toes. Itching is often the worst right after you take off your shoes and socks. Splitting of the skin may be present between or under the toes. This form of athlete’s foot tends to be quite itchy.

Some types of athlete’s foot feature blisters or ulcers. The moccasin variety of athlete’s foot causes chronic dryness and scaling on the soles that extends up the side of the foot. It can be mistaken for eczema or dry skin.

The infection can affect one or both feet and can spread to your hand — especially if you scratch or pick at the infected parts of your feet.

Sometimes, the border of the affected skin may be raised with bumps, blisters, or scabs.

When it affects the toenail, it appears as discoloured, thick and crumbly toenails. Toenails pull easily away from the nail bed.



Diagnosis of athlete’s foot can be made by examination in the doctors’ office. In situation where your doctor is not sure, he can request for potassium hydroxide examination. This examination is done by scrapping small part of the infected skin and place it in potassium hydroxide (KOH). The KOH destroys normal cells and leaves the fungal cells untouched so they are easy to see under microscope.



There are many over-the-counter topical antifungal agents that can be applied. Examples include: miconazole, terbinafine, clotrimazole, nystatin etc.

Your doctor might also add topical steroid and/ or antibiotic medication to reduce painful inflammation and secondary bacterial infection.



Among several things that can be done to prevent athlete’s foot are:

  1. Wear shoes made of breathable materials
  2. Put antifungal powder on your feet everyday.
  3. Don’t share shoes, towel or socks with others.
  4. Change your socks when your feet are sweaty.
  5. Wear shoes made of breathable materials fibres.
  6. Air your feet at home by walking bare footed.
  7. Wear footwears in public shower, swimming pool etc.





Mayo clinic