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COMMON FUNGAL INFECTIONS – Tinea Pedis – Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnostic Evaluations and Management 

COMMON FUNGAL INFECTIONS – Tinea Pedis – Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnostic Evaluations and Management

COMMON FUNGAL INFECTIONS – Tinea Pedis – Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnostic Evaluations and Management

Tinea pedis is a foot infection due to a dermatophyte fungus. It is fungal infection of the soles of the feet, space between toes and/or toe nails. It is also called ringworm of feet or athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread by contact with an infected person or from contact with contaminated surfaces, such as towels, floors and shoes. Risk of tinea pedis is greater if do not wash feet or do not change socks every day.


Athlete’s foot is caused by a microscopic fungus that lives on dead tissue of the hair, toe-nails, and outer skin layers. There are at least four kinds of fungus that can cause athlete’s foot. The most common of these fungi is trichophyton rubrum.


Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot vary from person to person. However, common symptoms include:

  • Peeling, cracking and scaling of the feet
  • Redness, blisters, or softening and breaking down of the skin
  • Redness, swelling, itching or burning
  • Scaly or peeling skin
  • Bad smelling feet
  • Thick, dark skin on the bottoms or sides of feet
  • Thick, abnormal toenails



The diagnosis is usually obvious to doctors based symptoms and the appearance of the affected area. Not all itchy, scaly feet have athlete’s foot. The best way to diagnose the infection is to have doctor scrape the skin and examine the scales under a microscope for evidence of fungus.


Tinea pedis is usually treated with topical antifungal agents, but if treatment is unsuccessful, oral antifungal medicines may be considered, including terbinafine and itraconazole. This medicine may be given as a cream, gel, or pill. To possibly reduce recurrences, antifungal drugs can be applied to the skin.

To help keep the feet dry, people may apply antifungal powders (such as miconazole), gentian violet, or aluminum chloride solution or soak their feet in Burow solution (aluminum subacetate) to remove crusts and scales.


  1. Keep your feet clean and dry, especially between your toes: wash feet each day and dry them well, especially between toes. After feet are dry, put powder on feet and between toes.
  2. Soak your feet: if you have blisters, soak feet in an astringent (drying) solution. Do this for 20 to 30 minutes, 2 times each day to help dry out the blisters.
  3. Wear shoes in public areas: do not walk barefoot in public places. Wear shower shoes or sandals in warm, damp areas. This includes shower stalls, near swimming pools, and locker rooms. Do not share socks or shoes
  4. Change socks regularly. If you feet sweat a lot, change socks when they get wet. Wear clean cotton or wool socks each day.
  5. Wear light, well-ventilated shoes. Avoid shoes made of synthetic material, such as vinyl or rubber. Wear sandals, tennis shoes, or other shoes that allow air to flow to your feet.
  6. Protect your feet in public places. Wear waterproof sandals or shower shoes in communal showers, pools, fitness centers and other public areas.
  7. Treat your feet. Use powder, preferably antifungal, on your feet daily.