Main Line Pediatrics

Are You Sick?

Athlete's Foot

Is this your symptom?

  • Fungus infection of the feet
  • Causes itchy rash on the feet and between the toes

Some Basics...

  • Athlete's foot is an infection caused by a fungus. It grows best on the warm, damp skin of the feet and toes. It is also called "Tinea Pedis."
  • A person can get athlete's foot by walking barefoot in public showers or on pool decks.
  • It is a common problem. Up to 7 out of 10 adults have it at some point in their lives.
  • There are 2 kinds of medicine that work well in treating athlete's foot. Most healthy people can treat it by using an antifungal cream. Some people may need a prescription pill to treat it.

Symptoms

  • Red, scaly, or cracked rash between the toes. Sometimes, there can also be a rash on the instep of the foot.
  • Rash is itchy. Sometimes it burns slightly. When scratched, the rash becomes raw and weepy.
  • Feet may smell bad.

When to Call for Athlete's Foot

Call Doctor or Seek Care Now

  • Whole foot is red or swollen
  • Fever
  • You feel weak or very sick

Call Doctor Within 24 Hours

  • Pus is draining from the rash
  • Foot is very painful
  • You think you need to be seen

Call Doctor During Office Hours

  • Rash has spread to the top of the foot
  • Have diabetes
  • You have other questions or concerns

Self Care at Home

  • Mild athlete's foot

Care Advice

Treatment of Athlete's Foot

  1. What You Should Know:
    • Athlete's foot is an infection caused by a fungus. It grows best on the warm, damp skin of the feet and toes. It is also called "Tinea Pedis."
    • There are 2 kinds of medicine that work well in treating athlete's foot. Most healthy people can treat it by using an antifungal cream. Some people may need a prescription pill to treat it.
    • You can treat most cases of athlete's foot at home.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.
  2. Antifungal Cream: Rub the antifungal cream on the rash 2 times a day. Keep using the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is gone.
    • Sold over-the-counter (OTC) in United States as terbinafine (Lamisil AT) or clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF) or miconazole (Micatin, Monistat-Derm).
    • Sold OTC in Canada as clotrimazole (Clotrimazole cream, Canesten, Clotrimaderm) or miconazole (Micatin Cream, Micozole, Monistat-Derm).
    • Terbinafine (Lamisil AT) is most recommended, but is not sold in Canada.
    • Read all package instructions.
  3. Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry:
    • Wash your feet 2 times every day. Dry your feet completely, especially between the toes.
    • Then rub on the antifungal cream.
    • Wear clean socks and change them 2 times a day.
  4. Avoid Scratching: Scratching the rash on your feet will delay healing. Rinse the itchy feet in cool water to calm the itch.
  5. How It Is Spread:
    • Athlete's foot is not easily spread to others.
    • 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 keep playing sports.
    • Your socks can be washed with the regular laundry. They don't need to be boiled.
  6. What to Expect: With proper treatment, athlete's foot should get much better within 1 week and go away within 2 weeks.
  7. Call Your Doctor If:
    • Rash has spreading redness, streaks, or pus
    • Rash is not better after 1 week of treatment
    • Rash is not gone after 2 weeks of treatment
    • You think you need to be seen
    • You get worse

Prevention

  1. Avoid Being Barefoot in Public Places:
    • You can get athlete's foot from walking barefoot in showers or bathrooms.
    • You can also get it near swimming pools.
    • Wear sandals in public places.
  2. Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry:
    • Wash your feet with warm soapy water 1 time a day. Rinse your feet and dry them completely, especially between the toes.
    • Wear clean cotton socks and change them daily.

And remember, contact your doctor if you develop any of the 'Call Your Doctor' symptoms.

Disclaimer: this health information is for educational purposes only. You, the reader, assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.


Last Reviewed: 5/21/2019 1:00:21 AM
Last Updated: 3/14/2019 1:00:22 AM

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