Athlete’s foot (also known as ringworm of the foot and tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of the skin that causes scaling, flaking, and itch of affected areas. It is caused by fungi in the genus Trichophyton and is typically transmitted in moist areas where people walk barefoot, such as showers or bathhouses.
Although the condition typically affects the feet, it can spread to other areas of the body, including the groin. Athlete’s foot can be treated by a number of pharmaceutical and other treatments.
Signs & Symptoms
Athlete’s foot causes scaling, flaking, and itching of the affected skin. Blisters and cracked skin may also occur, leading to exposed raw tissue, pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Secondary bacterial infection can accompany the fungal infection, sometimes requiring a course of oral antibiotics.
Without medication athlete’s foot resolves in 30–40% of cases and topical antifungal medication consistently produce much higher percentages of cures.
The fungi that cause athlete’s foot can live on shower floors, wet towels, and footwear, and can spread from person to person from shared contact with showers, towels, etc.
Hygiene, therefore, plays an important role in managing an athlete’s foot infection. Since fungi thrive in moist environments, keeping feet and footwear as dry as possible, and avoiding sharing towels, etc aids prevention of primary infection.