- Fungus infection of the feet
- Causes itchy rash on the feet and between the toes
- Athlete's Foot is an infection caused by a fungus that grows best on the warm, damp skin of the foot and toes. It is also referred to as "Tinea Pedis."
- It is a common malady, with up to 70% of the adult population having it at some point in their lives.
- There are both topical and oral medications that work well in treating this infection. Most healthy individuals will be able to treat Athlete's Foot effectively using a topical agent.
- Red, scaly, cracked rash between the toes
- May involve the insteps of the feet
- The rash itches and burns; with scratching, the rash becomes raw and weepy
- Unpleasant foot odor
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
Should I Call?
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You feel weak or very sick
- Looks infected (redness, swelling, warmth, tender to touch, or red streaks)
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think you need to be seen
- Pus is draining from the rash
- Foot is very painful
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- Rash has spread beyond the instep and toes
- You have diabetes
Self Care at Home If
- Mild Athlete's Foot and you don't think you need to be seen
Care at Home
HOME CARE ADVICE
General Care Advice for Athlete's Foot
- Antifungal Cream. Apply the antifungal cream 2 times a day to the affected areas of the feet. Continue the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is cleared.
- Available over-the-counter in U.S. as terbinafine (Lamisil AT) or clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF) or miconazole (Micatin, Monistat-Derm).
- Available over-the-counter in Canada as clotrimazole (Clotrimazole cream, Canesten, Clotrimaderm) or miconazole (Micatin Cream, Micozole, Monistat-Derm).
- Terbinafine (Lamisil AT) is most recommended, but is not available in Canada.
- Read the package instructions thoroughly on all medications that you use.
- Keep the Feet Clean and Dry: Wash the feet two times every day. Dry the feet completely, especially between the toes. Then apply the cream. Wear clean socks and change them twice daily.
- Avoid Scratching: Scratching infected feet will delay healing. Rinse the itchy feet in cool water for relief.
- The condition is not very contagious.
- The fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.
- Adults with Athlete's Foot do not need to miss any school or work. You can continue to play sports.
- The socks can be washed with regular laundry. They don't need to be boiled.
- Expected Course: With proper treatment, Athlete's Foot should decrease substantially within 1 week and disappear within 2 weeks.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Rash looks infected (e.g., spreading redness, streaks, pus)
- Rash continues to spread after 1 week of treatment
- Rash has not cleared after 2 weeks of treatment
- You become worse
- Avoid Being Barefoot in Public Areas (e.g., showers, bathrooms, swimming pools). You can get athlete's foot from walking barefoot in these areas. Wear sandals.
- Keep the Feet Clean and Dry:
- Wash your feet with warm soapy water once a day. Rinse the feet and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Wear clean cotton socks and change daily.
And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Athlete's Foot between Toes
A very common location for Athlete's Foot is the third, fourth, or fifth web space between the toes.
This image shows redness and breakdown of the skin from fungus infection.
This image shows more extensive Athlete's Foot involving most of the bottom portion of the foot.
The primary symptoms are itching and redness.
Source: LMS Inc.
Copyright 2000-2009. Self Care Decisions, LLC. Used by Permission.
Content area for Tab One
Author and Senior Reviewer: David A. Thompson, M.D. Clinical content review provided by Senior Reviewer and Healthpoint Medical Network.
Last Review Date: 6/1/2011
Last Revised: 8/13/2010
Content Set: Adult HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Version Year: 2012
Portions Copyright 2000-2012 Self Care Decisions LLC; Copyright LMS, Inc.