It might start as just a tingling sensation near one toe, then progress into a nagging itch. Or, you may notice a scaly, red rash. These are common signs of athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).
Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin. In fact, it’s the most common one. Athlete’s foot most often appears between the toes.
Athlete’s foot can spread easily. Many people catch it by walking barefoot in warm, wet, shared spaces like gym locker rooms and bathrooms. You can catch athlete’s foot and then accidentally pass it on to other people. You can also spread the fungus from your feet to your nails, hands, and groin.
Athlete’s foot can make the skin between your toes:
If left untreated, the symptoms may worsen. Scaly skin can thicken and crack, allowing the infection to enter a break in the skin.
It is especially important to seek treatment for athlete’s foot if you have diabetes.
Try these tips to take care of your feet and steer clear of athlete’s foot:
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Wash them often and dry them thoroughly, especially between your toes.
- Let your feet air out. When you can, wear sandals or other open shoes.
- Change your socks frequently. Wear clean socks every day. Change into fresh socks when your feet get sweaty.
- Protect your feet. Wear sandals or shoes in places like the gym and pool. Don’t go barefoot in public areas.
- Choose lightweight shoes made of breathable materials.
- Use antifungal powder. If you frequently get athlete’s foot, sprinkle antifungal powder in your shoes.
- Apply antiperspirant to your feet as directed by your physician.
- Change your shoes often. Switch pairs each day. Allow your shoes time to dry after each use.
- Keep your shoes to yourself. Don’t share shoes, or you may end up sharing a fungal infection, too.