Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot is a common condition that can cause discomfort and affect your quality of life, especially if it is recurrent. In this article, find out what it is, its symptoms, its causes, and how to treat it. 

Schedule an appointment with our highly-trained podiatrists at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center in Greater Columbus today for the relief you’re looking for!

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What Is Athlete's Foot?

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a common type of fungal infection that affects the skin on your feet. While this condition is usually not dangerous, it can cause a mild rash and sometimes be challenging to cure.  

This infection is called athlete’s foot because it commonly affects those whose feet tend to be damp, moist, and sweaty, such as athletes. Fungus thrives in these kinds of warm and damp environments. Anyone, however, regardless of age or gender, can get this infection.

This infection can affect one or both feet, and it can also spread to your toenails and hands.

Athlete’s foot and other conditions, such as jock itch and ringworm, are all caused by different types of fungi belonging to the same fungus group called dermatophytes.

A man with itchy feet from having athlete’s foot.

Athlete's Foot Symptoms

A patient getting treated for athlete’s foot in Columbus, Ohio.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot can include:

Is Tinea Pedis Contagious?

Yes, tinea pedis is a contagious fungal infection that can be spread by means of direct contact or by touching a contaminated surface.

What Causes Athlete's Foot?

Athlete’s foot can be caused by direct contact with someone who has it or touching a surface that has been contaminated by fungi, including:

Risk Factors

While anyone can get athlete’s foot, there are certain activities that can heighten your risk, including:

Can Athlete's Foot Be Prevented?

Yes, you can find comfort in knowing that athlete’s foot can be prevented. Below you will find practical steps and precautions that you can take to prevent athlete’s foot infections.

How is Athlete’s Foot Diagnosed?

An experienced foot specialist will be able to diagnose athlete’s foot simply by examining your skin due to its distinct characteristics. If needed, they may request to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot can be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal powders or creams designed to control the infection. You will be instructed to keep using this medication for one to two weeks after the infection has cleared. This should help prevent the infection from coming back.

If your infection returns, your specialists may prescribe the following to treat athlete’s foot:

How Long Do Symptoms of Tinea Pedis Take to Resolve?

Symptoms of tinea pedis usually resolve within two to four weeks of treatment.

When Should I See a Doctor About My Athlete's Foot?

You should see your doctor about your athlete’s foot if:

If you would like to know more about how you can prevent athlete’s foot or suspect that you may have this condition, schedule an appointment at Orthopedic Foot & Ankle Center in the Columbus, OH area today! Our foot doctors and podiatrists are ready to give you the quality care you deserve.

Medically reviewed by Sarah Abshier, DPM, CWS

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