Athlete’s foot – What causes it and how to prevent it?

Updated on September 4, 2020

Fungal infection can be really troubling and irritating as they can come back wherever they find a moist, warm place to grow. One of such fungal skin infections is Athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot usually begins between your toes. Its name is derived from the fact that it mostly happens to athletes as they wear tight shoes with socks for prolonged times. It is usually scaly and maybe a red, raw-appearing eruption with weeping and oozing with small blisters. It can affect anyone, especially athletes. If not treated at the right time, it can spread to a nail and cause a fungal nail infection. The infection can also spread to your hands, but that seldom happens. Very rarely, and only in severe cases of athlete’s foot, it can also lead to a bacterial infection.

Let’s a look into its diagnosis and prognosis:

What will be covered in this article:

●      What is Athlete’s Foot?

●      Symptoms

●      Causes

●      Remedies

What is Athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that happens between the toes. It commonly happens to athletes or to people who wear shoes and socks for prolonged periods of time which causes the sweat to accumulate between the toes. They can be closely related to fungal infections such as ringworm and jock’s itch. Athlete’s foot is mildly contagious. It usually spreads through direct physical contact with the infected person and by skin particles left on towels, shoes, or floors.

Athlete’s foot facts

Scaling and/or blistering of the soles of your foot.

When the athlete’s foot aggravates, it may spread to the palms, groin, and body.

Fungal skin infections are contagious and can be spread person to person or by walking on contaminated floors barefoot.

When an athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus, it can be treated with antifungal medications, many of which are available without a prescription.

It is always safe to keep the feet dry by using cotton socks and breathable shoes. It prevents athlete’s foot.


Following are the symptoms that one can suffer from during Athlete’s foot:

●      Dry, flaky skin red rash between the toes

●      Small, red blisters

●      Dry and scaly soles and sides of the foot

●      Ulcers or sores filled with smelling fluid


Fungi cause Athlete’s foot! Fungi lives on your skin, hair, and nails called dermatophytes. When the environment you live in gets warm and moist, fungi grow out of control and start to cause symptoms. They are usually caused due to:

●      Wearing closed footwear for long periods of time

●      Exposure or contact to fungal spores that are present in communal areas

●      Heavy sweating

●      Failing to dry the feet after taking a bath


As said, prevention is better than cure, hence here are some remedies that you can follow on your own and take care of your feet by preventing Athlete’s foot from happening.

●      Wearing open and ventilated shoes so that your feet can breathe through.

●      Letting your feet breathe as much as possible when at home.

●      Wearing a good pair of socks that are specifically designed to draw moisture from your feet.

●      Avoiding wearing shoes made of rubber or vinyl.

●      Alternating between different pairs of shoes so that they can dry out.

●      Wearing sandal to communal areas such as public pools, showers, locker rooms etc.

●      Using antifungal powder and creams on a daily basis to make sure that the feet remain dry and fungus-free.

●      Avoiding wearing or sharing anybody else’s shoes.

However, despite all the preventions and precautions, if you still suffer from the Athlete’s foot, then they can also be a genetic issue or an underlying cause of a medical condition. Athlete’s foot responds well to these topical agents:

  • Clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF) cream or lotion.
  • Miconazole (Micaderm) cream.
  • Selenium sulfide (Selsun Blue) 1 per cent lotion.
  • Terbinafine (Lamisil AT) cream or gel.
  • Zinc pyrithione soap.

While mild cases can always be taken care with the help of over the counter medicines and creams, visit a Dermatologist near you can provide you with the treatment for quick and effective relief. Less severe cases of athlete’s foot solve within 2 weeks. But treatment can go for several weeks or longer if the infection is more serious or affects the toenails. Without proper medical treatment, athlete’s foot will make your feet even itchier and painful. It can turn serious, if you don’t take care of it. Antifungal creams are possibly the best treatments for athlete’s foot.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.