What Is Athlete's Foot?

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Tinea pedis, commonly referred to as athlete's foot, is a contagious fungal infection that develops on the feet, typically starting between the toes. The condition often affects individuals who experience heavy sweating of the feet when wearing constrictive footwear.

In most cases, athlete's foot is caused by several types of fungi that are also responsible for jock itch and ringworm infections, explains WebMD. The fungi survive in enclosed moist environments and can be spread from person to person via floors, shoes and fabrics. In rare instances, athlete's foot infections can also be caused by yeast.

Symptoms of athlete's foot include peeling, cracked skin in between the toes and on the soles of the feet, itchy blisters on the feet, burning foot soles, and discolored toenails, explains Healthline. Individuals with athlete's foot may also experience burning or stinging sensations in the affected areas. In many cases, symptoms of athlete's foot can be relieved with over-the-counter anti-fungal topical creams. If the creams fail to work, oral anti-fungal medications may be prescribed. Preventative measures to minimize the chance of recurrence include daily washing of the feet and toes with soap and water, applying anti-fungal powder to the feet, and wearing breathable socks. Wearing sandals in wet, shared environments such as public showers and swimming pools is also advised.