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What is Athlete's Foot - Causes, Symptoms and Triggers

Updated on September 13, 2016
Athlete's Foot
Athlete's Foot | Source

Athlete’s Foot is a skin condition that affects the soles of the feet and the skin between the toes. It is a condition that is caused by a fungus and can spread to any other part of the body.

Athlete’s Foot can spread from person to person through contact with contaminated floors or objects. It can also spread from person to person by direct contact.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s Foot is caused by fungus called Tricophyton rubrum. Tricophyton rubrum belongs to a group of fungus called Dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are parasitic fungi that live by feeding off other organisms. Tricophyton rubrum grows and multiplies in warm and moist conditions.

Symptoms of Athlete's Foot

Athlete's Foot is characterized by the following symptoms -

  • itching, burning or stinging sensation
  • development of rashes
  • oozing blisters
  • watery discharge
  • foul odor
  • soggy white skin

The skin may become dry, flaky, red or scaly and develop cracks. In extreme cases, the skin may develop deep fissures that can be very painful. Germs can easily enter through these cracks and cause infection and inflammation of the skin.

Toenails may become thick and colored, or they may become very brittle when the foot is infected.

Athlete’s Foot Triggers

  1. Wearing tight fitting shoes that cramp the toes
  2. Plastic shoes that make the feet hot and sweaty
  3. Wearing damp socks
  4. Direct contact with the skin of a person infected with Athlete’s Foot
  5. Indirect contact when a person comes in contact with things already exposed to the fungus. For example, infected clothing, socks, shoes, bed sheets, towels, swimming pool floors, communal showers
  6. People with a weak immunity system can easily be infected with the fungus causing Athlete’s Foot

Athlete's Foot - A Glance

  • Athlete’s Foot it is a skin condition that affects the soles of the feet and the skin between the toes
  • it is a condition caused by a fungus called Tricophyton rubrum
  • warm, moist conditions are best suited for the fungus to grow
  • Athlete’s Foot can spread from person to person through direct contact
  • with proper care and hygiene Athlete's Foot can be cured
  • there are over the counter medicines that are effective to kill the fungus
  • if symptoms persist, contact your doctor
  • if you have diabetes, the infection may take a long time to leave the body system
  • proper fitting shoes and breathable socks is essential if you have Athlete's Foot
  • wear clean socks and air shoes regularly to prevent fungal infection

How to take care?

  1. Keep your feet clean and dry.
  2. Avoid touching any other part of your body after touching the infected area.
  3. Wear properly fitting shoes and socks that can breathe.
  4. Make sure your feet are dry before putting on socks, stalkings or tights.
  5. Wear cotton socks that will absorb sweat and keep your feet dry.
  6. Use anti-fungal powder before wearing your socks.
  7. Do not wear the same shoes every day, alternate shoes and air them out.
  8. Spray the insides of shoes with anti-fungal spray to kill any infection.
  9. Disinfect shoes thoroughly after infection is cured.

Applying Medication to Infected Feet

Before applying any medication to the infected area make sure that your hands are clean and dry.

Apply the medicine for a few days after the symptoms of the infection have disappeared. This helps to make sure that the fungal infection is fully cured.

Make sure to wash your hands with soap after applying the medication.

How To Prevent Athlete's Foot

  • Do not share soap bars or towels
  • Use clean, dry towels
  • Wash sheets and blankets regularly
  • Remove your shoes immediately after a workout
  • Air out your shoes after removing them
  • Do not share footwear
  • Do not wear plastic footwear
  • Wear sandals while walking near swimming pools or while showering before getting into the pool

When you go bowling, carry a small bottle of an anti-fungal spray. Spray inside the bowling shoes before wearing them.

Athlete's Foot is easier to prevent than cure, wearing clean and dry socks, and properly fitting shoes will help to prevent Athlete's Foot to a great extent.


How to recognize Athlete's Foot Symptoms


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    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 14 months ago from Dubai

      FlourishAnyway your so right! Keep shoes out in the sun to keep it dry and prevent infection.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 14 months ago from USA

      This is a good reason to wear different shoes every day. Yuck.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      tillsontitan thank you for reading and the vote ups. Many people do not get athlete's foot and am glad you never got it.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      I have, fortunately, never had athlete's foot nor known anyone who had it. Does that make me a surprising statistic?

      Anyway, this was a good look at athlete's foot with some good instructions about how to avoid and/or treat it.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Paul Kuehn thank you for reading, vote and share. Am glad that this condition does not trouble you anymore. Take care.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      I had athletes foot for many years in my life until it got to the point I had to go to a dermatologist for treatment. He put me on Lamasil oral pills and after three months the fungal infection was cleared up. Since living in a hot climate in Thailand where I seldom wear socks, my feet are dry and athletes foot hasn't returned to me. Voted up as interesting and useful and sharing with HP followers.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      FlourishAnyway thank you and am glad you found this useful.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This is useful information on an unpleasant condition. I understand that oftentimes athlete's foot and toenail fungus occur together. Yuck.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      Midget38 thank you.

    • profile image

      Midget38 3 years ago

      Thanks for this!! Thank goodness I'm not prone to Athlete's Foot. Sharing.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      ChitrangadaSharan thank you and yes it can take a long time to get cured.

      Alicia C thank you, yes it is an unpleasant condition and can get worse if left untreated. Thank you for your visit.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing the useful information, Vellur. Athlete's foot is an unpleasant condition, so it's good to know how to prevent and treat it.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very useful information shared by you, which will help many to deal with this problem. I know this is very painful and needs lot of care and attention. It takes a long time to get cured too, since we can not avoid using our foot or wearing shoes.

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 3 years ago from Dubai

      DDE thank you and am glad you understood.

      billybuc thank you, it is very painful and just might take a long time to go.

      always exploring airing out shoes definitely helps, thank you for stopping by.

      Jackie Lynnley am glad you never faced this condition, thank you for stopping by.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I have never been faced with this thankfully but I had no idea all there is to know about it so thank you. I will certainly share all this knowledge with my family. ^

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 3 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I had this once from a swimming pool. It is really difficult to get rid of. I didn't know about spraying the shoes or airing them outside. Thank you for the new info..

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good information my friend. I had it way back in high school and it was no fun for sure.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I knew about athletes foot when my close friend had it at school and at that time did not quite understand it. Over the years, I heard and read more and now I have become more familiar from this hub. An excellent hub.