- Fungus infection of the feet
- Causes itchy rash on the feet and between the toes
- Athlete's Foot is an infection caused by a fungus that grows best on the warm, damp skin of the foot and toes. It is also referred to as "Tinea Pedis."
- It is a common malady, with up to 70% of the adult population having it at some point in their lives.
- There are both topical and oral medications that work well in treating this infection. Most healthy individuals will be able to treat Athlete's Foot effectively using a topical agent.
- Red, scaly, cracked rash between the toes
- May involve the insteps of the feet
- The rash itches and burns; with scratching, the rash becomes raw and weepy
- Unpleasant foot odor
See More Appropriate Topic (instead of this one) If
WHEN TO CALL YOUR DOCTOR
Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If
- You feel weak or very sick
- Looks infected (redness, swelling, warmth, tender to touch, or red streaks)
Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If
- You think you need to be seen
- Pus is draining from the rash
- Foot is very painful
Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If
- You have other questions or concerns
- Rash has spread beyond the instep and toes
- You have diabetes
Self Care at Home If
- Mild Athlete's Foot and you don't think you need to be seen
HOME CARE ADVICE
General Care Advice for Athletes Foot
- Antifungal Cream. Apply the antifungal cream 2 times a day to the affected areas of the feet. Continue the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is cleared.
- Available over-the-counter in U.S. as terbinafine (Lamisil AT) or clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF) or miconazole (Micatin, Monistat-Derm).
- Available over-the-counter in Canada as clotrimazole (Clotrimazole cream, Canesten, Clotrimaderm) or miconazole (Micatin Cream, Micozole, Monistat-Derm).
- Terbinafine (Lamisil AT) is most recommended, but is not available in Canada.
- Read the package instructions thoroughly on all medications that you use.
- Keep the Feet Clean and Dry: Wash the feet two times every day. Dry the feet completely, especially between the toes. Then apply the cream. Wear clean socks and change them twice daily.
- Avoid Scratching: Scratching infected feet will delay healing. Rinse the itchy feet in cool water for relief.
- The condition is not very contagious.
- The fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.
- Adults with Athlete's Foot do not need to miss any school or work. You can continue to play sports.
- The socks can be washed with regular laundry. They don't need to be boiled.
- Expected Course: With proper treatment, Athlete's Foot should decrease substantially within 1 week and disappear within 2 weeks.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Rash looks infected (e.g., spreading redness, streaks, pus)
- Rash continues to spread after 1 week of treatment
- Rash has not cleared after 2 weeks of treatment
- You become worse
- Avoid Being Barefoot in Public Areas (e.g., showers, bathrooms, swimming pools). You can get athlete's foot from walking barefoot in these areas. Wear sandals.
- Keep the Feet Clean and Dry:
- Wash your feet with warm soapy water once a day. Rinse the feet and dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Wear clean cotton socks and change daily.
And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: David A. Thompson, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 10/2/2011
Last Revised: 10/2/2011
Content Set: Adult HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 2000-2012. Self Care Decisions LLC; LMS, Inc.