Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection and may be prevented by wearing appropriate shoes in public showers. If you have developed this uncomfortable foot condition, it is strongly suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can begin the correct treatment for you. If you have any questions about the athlete’s foot, consult with one of our podiatrists from Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Our doctors will assess your condition and provide you with quality treatment.

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Tinea pedis, more commonly known as athlete’s foot, is a non-serious and common fungal infection of the foot. It is contagious and can be contracted by touching someone who has it or infected surfaces. The most common places contaminated by it are public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Once contracted, it grows on feet left inside moist, dark, and warm shoes and socks.

Types of Athlete’s Foot

There are several types of athlete's foot, including:

  • Interdigital or Toe Web Infection: This is the most common type of athlete's foot and affects the skin between the toes. It typically causes itching, burning, and peeling of the skin in the affected area.

  • Moccasin-Type Infection: This type of athlete's foot starts with dryness, itching, and scaling of the skin on the sole or heel of the foot. Over time, the skin can become thickened, cracked, and painful. In severe cases, it can also lead to toenail infections.

  • Vesicular Infection: Vesicular athlete's foot is characterized by the formation of fluid-filled blisters on the feet, usually on the sole. These blisters can be itchy and painful and may break open, leading to oozing and crusting of the skin.

  • Ulcerative Infection: This is a less common form of athlete's foot but can be more severe and can affect large areas, and there's usually a secondary bacterial infection on top of the fungal infection. It involves the formation of open sores or ulcers on the foot, often accompanied by redness, inflammation, and drainage of pus.

Athlete’s Foot Symptoms

Athlete’s foot initially occurs as a rash between the toes. However, if left undiagnosed, it can spread to the sides and bottom of the feet, toenails, and if touched by hand, the hands themselves. Symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Burning or stinging
  • Itching
  • Blisters
  • Scaly and peeling skin or cracked skin

How Athlete’s Foot Diagnosed? 

Diagnosis is quick and easy. Skin samples will be taken and either viewed under a microscope or sent to a lab for testing. Sometimes, a podiatrist can diagnose it based on simply looking at it. Once confirmed, treatment options include oral and topical antifungal medications.

How To Treat Athlete’s Foot?

To treat athlete's foot:

  • Use over-the-counter antifungal products.
  • Practice good hygiene - keep your feet clean and dry.
  • Seek prescription medications for severe or persistent cases.
  • Consider home remedies like vinegar or tea tree oil.
  • Consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Athlete’s Foot Prevention

The most effective ways to prevent athlete’s foot include:

  • Thoroughly washing and drying feet
  • Avoid going barefoot in locker rooms and public showers
  • Using shower shoes in public showers
  • Wearing socks that allow the feet to breathe
  • Changing socks and shoes frequently if you sweat a lot

Take Action for Healthy Feet

Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection that can be easily prevented and treated with the right measures. It is important to understand the different types of athlete's foot and their symptoms to seek appropriate treatment.

At Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists, our team of experienced podiatrists is dedicated to providing exceptional foot care. With offices located inLake in the Hills, Cary, Fox Lake, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Chicago, Elgin, and Hinsdale, IL , we offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

If you are experiencing symptoms of athlete's foot or have any concerns about your foot health, don't hesitate to contact Northern Illinois Foot & Ankle Specialists. Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled podiatrists today to receive the expert care you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for athlete's foot to heal with treatment?

The healing time for athlete's foot can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the chosen treatment. With proper treatment, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months for the symptoms to fully resolve.

Is athlete's foot more common in certain age groups?

Athlete's foot can affect people of all ages, but it is more commonly seen in adolescents and adults. Factors such as sweating, wearing tight shoes, and having a weakened immune system can increase the risk of developing athlete's foot.

Are there any long-term complications associated with athlete's foot?

In most cases, athlete's foot does not lead to serious complications. However, if left untreated or if the infection spreads, it can cause secondary bacterial infections or lead to more severe skin conditions.

Can I still exercise or play sports if I have athlete's foot?

If you have athlete's foot, it is generally recommended that you avoid barefoot activities and wear clean, breathable socks and well-fitting shoes. If the infection is severe or causing discomfort, it is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before resuming intense physical activities.

Are there any natural remedies that can help with athlete's foot?

Some natural remedies, such as tea tree oil, vinegar soaks, or garlic paste, may have antifungal properties and provide temporary relief. However, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.