Home > Health A – Z > Athlete's Foot

Athlete's Foot (Tinea Pedis)

About Athlete's Foot

Many people will have athlete's foot at some time throughout their life. It is usually the gaps between the toes that are affected. Athlete's foot can normally be treated effectively with creams available from the pharmacy. To prevent athlete's foot from developing at all, it is important to keep your feet dry.

Symptoms

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is particularly common between the little toe and the adjacent toe. The fungus can cause the skin to redden and crack. The affected areas flake and may become itchy. The skin can also turn white and thicken and is often slightly swollen.

If the infection spreads across the sole of the foot it is referred to as moccasin athlete's foot. The soles of the feet, the heels and the edges of the feet are then dry, scaly and may be itchy. Moccasin athlete's foot is sometimes mistaken for other conditions such as dermatitis.

A more rare kind of athlete's foot causes an acute inflammation which reddens the skin and forms ulcers. The skin can become itchy and feel tight... Read more about Athlete's Foot

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Oral antifungal drugs for treating athlete's foot (tinea pedis)

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of the feet that is easily spread and difficult to get rid of. This review compared different oral antifungal drugs (i.e. drugs taken by mouth), and it included 15 trials, involving 1438 participants. There are several different kinds of oral treatments, and the trials we found considered all the oral drugs used to treat athlete's foot. We found terbinafine and itraconazole to be more effective than placebo. And we found terbinafine to be more effective than griseofulvin. Griseofulvin is a treatment that was developed much earlier than the new treatments, such as terbinafine and itraconazole; these newer treatments tend to be most evaluated. Trials of other drugs were not large enough to show differences between them. All drugs had side‐effects; gastrointestinal effects were the most common.

Safety and efficacy of tinea pedis and onychomycosis treatment in people with diabetes: a systematic review.

BACKGROUND: Effective treatment of tinea pedis and onychomycosis is crucial for patients with diabetes as these infections may lead to foot ulcers and secondary bacterial infections resulting in eventual lower limb amputation. Although numerous studies have assessed the effectiveness of antifungal drug and treatment regimens, most exclude patients with diabetes and examine otherwise healthy individuals. While these studies are useful, results cannot necessarily be extrapolated to patients with diabetes. The purpose of this study was to therefore identify the best evidence-based treatment interventions for tinea pedis or onychomycosis in people with diabetes.

Behandlung der Tinea pedis vom interdigitalen Typ: Systematischer Review [Treatment of interdigital tinea pedis: a systematic review]

The review investigated the efficacy of treatments for interdigital tinea pedis. The authors concluded that allylamines, especially terbinafine, provide superior treatment in comparison with azoles. The conclusion appears reliable.

See all (13)

Summaries for consumers

Oral antifungal drugs for treating athlete's foot (tinea pedis)

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a fungal infection of the feet that is easily spread and difficult to get rid of. This review compared different oral antifungal drugs (i.e. drugs taken by mouth), and it included 15 trials, involving 1438 participants. There are several different kinds of oral treatments, and the trials we found considered all the oral drugs used to treat athlete's foot. We found terbinafine and itraconazole to be more effective than placebo. And we found terbinafine to be more effective than griseofulvin. Griseofulvin is a treatment that was developed much earlier than the new treatments, such as terbinafine and itraconazole; these newer treatments tend to be most evaluated. Trials of other drugs were not large enough to show differences between them. All drugs had side‐effects; gastrointestinal effects were the most common.

How effective are athlete's foot treatments?

Athlete's foot is very common and usually does not cause any serious problems. But affected skin can crack, and be itchy and unattractive. The fungus can spread to the nails, and on rare occasions to other areas of skin. The infection can usually be treated effectively with creams, gels or sprays.Athlete's foot fungi grow particularly well in the areas between our toes. It is often moist and warm there, and the skin on our feet is also a good breeding ground for fungus. Topical treatment will usually clear up the infection within a few weeks. Tablets only have to be taken in exceptional cases.Good hygiene is also important so that other people do not become infected and to prevent the infection from returning. That includes regularly changing socks, towels and bedding and washing them at over 60 degrees Celsius.

Athlete's foot: Overview

Nearly everyone has had experience with athlete’s foot. The warm and moist spaces between our toes are the perfect place for fungi to grow and spread, typically causing skin redness and cracking. It can be treated effectively with creams, gels and sprays. We provide information on the various treatments.

See all (7)

More about Athlete's Foot

Photo of an adult

Also called: Athletes' foot, Athletes foot

Other terms to know:
Fungal Infections, Interdigital Athlete's Foot, Ringworm (Tinea)

Keep up with systematic reviews on Athlete's Foot:

Create RSS

PubMed Health Blog...

read all...