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Athlete’s Foot: A Fungal Skin Disease

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What is athlete’s foot?

It is, also known as Tinea Pedis, is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. The fungus that causes Athlete’s foot is Trichophyton, which belongs to a fungi classification called dermatophytes, which also cause Jock Itch and Ringworm.

 This fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. It is a common disorder characterised by cracked heels, skin blisters, scaling of soles and itching.

Athlete’s foot symptoms:

  • Itching or burning sensation in between your toes or on the soles of your feet.
  • Blisters on your feet.
  • Cracking or peeling of your skin between the toes or on the soles.
  • Discoloured, thick and crumbly toenails.
  • Severe dry skin of your feet.

Causes of Athlete’s Foot:

It is caused by the same type of fungus, which causes ringworm or jock itch.

Humid conditions favour this organism’s growth.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

People with the following instances are at higher risk of getting infected :

  • Wear damp socks or tightfitting shoes.
  • Keep the feet wet or moist for very long.
  • Have sweaty feet.
  • Share socks, shoes or towels with someone infected.
  • Walk barefoot where the infection is prone to spread, such as in locker rooms, swimming pools, saunas or showers.

Is athlete’s foot contagious? Yes, this infection can spread through direct contact with an infected person or through contact with contaminated objects such as towels, floors and shoes.

Diagnosis of Athlete’s Foot:

Skin Lesion, Potassium Hydroxide Exam is the most common test to diagnose athlete’s feet. The doctors take a sample of the infected skin and place it in potassium hydroxide. The KOH destroys human cells, and the remaining fungal cells can be examined under a microscope.

Treatments of Athlete’s Foot:

Creams are used to treat most bacterial infections. In most cases, the infection is treated with over-the-counter topical antifungal medications. These antifungal ointments include:

Doctors also recommend some home remedies for the athlete’s foot. Such as soaking your feet in saltwater and diluted vinegar to help dry up blisters.

Complications of Athlete’s Foot:

The complication of this fungal infection can lead to bacterial infection and make your feet swollen, painful and hot. Pus from the blisters and fever are further signs of a bacterial infection.

Prevention of Athlete’s Foot:

  • Wash your feet with soap every day.
  • Try using antifungal powder on your feet regularly.
  • Wear clean socks and shoes.
  • Avoid wearing sweaty or wet socks for long.
  • Air out your feet by being barefoot for a while.
  • Do not share socks, shoes, and towels with others.

Answering Your Questions

  • How do you get rid of athlete’s foot fast?

You can use over the counter medication and home remedies like vinegar and water solution to get rid of tinea pedis.

  • What will happen if athlete’s foot is left untreated?

Even though it can not cause serious difficulties in otherwise healthy persons, it does not usually go away on its own. It can spread to a nail and create a fungal nail infection if left untreated. The infection can spread to other parts of the body, including the hands, but this is uncommon.

  • What does athlete’s foot look like?

Your skin may appear inflamed, scaly, or flaky (red, purple, grey, or white).

  • Do I need to throw away my shoes if I have athlete’s foot?

No, you just need to disinfect your shoes thoroughly. You should also refrain from sharing socks and shoes with anyone who is likely to have an infection. 

  • Should I wear socks to bed with athlete’s foot?

You can wear socks to bed can help prevent the fungus from spreading. Even if you avoid physical touch, and walk barefoot, your partner may get infected.  Apart from this you should sometimes let your feets breathe as well.

  • What’s the best home remedy for athlete’s foot?

You can rub baking soda or tea tree oil in affected areas. A vinegar water solution is also a very good option for getting ride of this infection.

  • How long does it take for athlete’s foot to go away?

The infection usually clears itself in two weeks in the majority of instances. However, if the infection is serious and affects the toenails, treatment may last many weeks or longer.

  • Does foot fungus go away?

It doesn’t go away on it’s own, and if they aren’t treated, the fungus can grow and ruin the nail.

  • Why do I keep getting athlete’s foot?

Visiting public areas barefoot, particularly locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools, increases your risk of getting infected. Sharing an infected person’s socks, shoes, or towels wearing shoes with a tight fit and a closed toe.

  • Can Athlete’s foot survive in the washing machine?

If you clean your garments with cold water, the fungus will survive a trip through the washing machine. In fact, it only kills when clothing and other items are cleaned in water that is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • What does early stages of athlete’s foot look like?

Your feet may feel painful, dry, or even itching at first. The skin thickens, splits, or peels after a while.

  • Does athlete’s foot smell?

Yes, fungal infections are indeed responsible for smelly feet. 

  • What happens if you scratch athlete’s foot?

Scratching your infection can cause it to spread to other regions of your body.

  • How do you stop athlete’s foot from spreading?

You can try the following ways to keep your feet fungus free:

  1. Dry your feet thoroughly after showering, especially between your toes, and wear clean, dry socks every day to keep them dry.
  2. Towels, shoes, and socks should not be shared with others.
  3. Socks made of cotton or moisture-wicking fabrics are recommended.
  • Does vinegar help athletes foot?

Yes, vinegar does help in getting rid of this infection. Doctors also recommended that you soak your feet in part water and vinegar solution, it is a perfect home remedy.

  • Does Vaseline help athletes foot?

Some types are so mild that all that is left is a dry, scaly skin on the heels and soles of the feet that does not itch. People try to use petroleum jelly and other similar products only to have their skin dry out in less than an hour.

  • Can toothpaste cure athlete’s foot?

Any oozy skin irritations, such as bug bites, athlete’s foot, and even blisters, can be treated with toothpaste. It’s a disinfectant, antiseptic, and fungicide all rolled into one. When used topically, toothpaste relieves irritation and reduces swelling.

  • Can you reuse apple cider vinegar foot soak?

It’s a bad idea to reuse your soak water. Because vinegar isn’t completely disinfecting, some debris, bacteria, and fungi from your foot will remain in the soak. That is why, after each bath, it is recommended to discard the water.

  • Can I still run with athlete’s foot?

The infection won’t stop you from working out, but you should avoid swimming to avoid spreading it to others. If you must exercise, wear cotton socks and shoes in the locker room. After you’ve finished exercising, make sure to clean and dry your feet.

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Photo of author Janet Fudge
Janet Fudge is a highly skilled and experienced pharmacologist who serves as a contributing writer for With a strong academic background from a premier US University and a passion for helping others, Janet has become a trusted voice in the pharmaceutical world. After completing her Doctor of Pharmacy degree, Janet embarked on a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, working with various clients, including hospitals, retail pharmacies, and drug manufacturers. Her in-depth knowledge of pharmacology and dedication to patient-centered care has led her to excel in her field. As a writer for, Janet uses her wealth of expertise to provide readers with accurate, reliable, and up-to-date information on various topics related to medicine and healthcare. Her engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics into easily digestible content make her a valuable resource for healthcare professionals and the general public.
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