Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that is also known as tinea pedis, which causes itchy, burning, and stinging rashes on the feet, toenails, and sometimes hands. It’s named athlete’s foot because it occurs frequently in athletes, as fungus thrives in warm and moist environments. This includes gym equipment, shoes, and socks. The other name tinea pedis comes from its ringworm-shaped outline, where tinea means ringworm and pedis means feet. This condition can be challenging as the infection can spread to other parts of the body and is also contagious, increasing the risk for your loved ones. In this blog, let us understand its types, causes, and how to effectively deal with it. 

Various types of Athlete’s foot

This condition can occur in different ways, but most commonly it is classified into three types:

  • Toe web infection: This is the most common type experienced by most of the people affected by this condition. Toe web infection usually starts in the areas between the toes and causes itching, burning sensation, and slight scaling of the skin. Affected individuals may start noticing changes in their skin color and also scaling of the skin in affected areas.
  • Moccasin-type infection: This form starts by causing minor irritation, dryness, itching, and scaly skin on the legs, hands, and toes. If it is not treated or taken care of immediately, over time, it can lead to cracked and thickened skin on the sole and the heel part of the foot. This is known to spread fast and sometimes can crumble the toenails and make them fall out.
  • Vesicular infection: Vesicular infection is a less common form of athlete’s foot compared to the other two types. This causes fluid/puss-filled blisters under the skin. Unlike the other two infections, this infection may also be infected by bacteria which can make it painful if not treated immediately. 


What causes Athlete’s feet?

This infection is solely caused by dermatophytes, a form of fungi that usually grows on damp or dead tissue of skin and nails. Here are some of the most common causes:

  • This fungus grows in warm and damp areas which are likely to be showers, gyms, or any other moist place. Continuous exposure to these conditions might result in the Athlete’s feet.
  • Since this condition is contagious, direct contact with someone who already has athlete’s feet is one of the most common causes of athlete’s feet. 
  • Indirect contact from sharing socks, shoes, or towels with someone who is affected by this condition can also be one othe causes.

Symptoms of Athlete’s feet

Here are some of the common symptoms to look out for, if you are confused about whether you are affected by Athlete’s feet or not: 

  • Itching, scaling, and burning sensation on various parts of skin especially near the legs and toenails. 
  • Dryness below the feet and on the sides of the skin. 
  • Raw skin due to excessive itching.

Once you notice any of these symptoms it is instructed to take immediate medical assistance to keep this condition under control. 


How is Athlete’s feet diagnosed and treated?


At Dr. Health Clinic, one of the leading dermatology and trichology hospitals, our expert dermatologists in Bangalore will conduct a visual examination of the affected area first to see its condition and intensity. 

  • We conduct detailed skin tests to test the spread of the fungi. This test is usually conducted using a potassium hydroxide examination.
  • In a few cases, we also suggest the patient get a culture test done to identify the specific fungus.
  • Based on these tests, we provide a detailed report of the problem and suggest necessary treatment options.


We offer personalized treatment plans for every patient to ensure a guaranteed solution for the customers. Here is a list of our fungal treatment plans:

  • Topical antifungal medications
  • Prescribed medications based on the infection
  • Oral antifungal drugs 

Effective management

Managing an athlete’s feet can be a challenging task, as you have to take extra precautions throughout the day. Here are some of the effective management tips

  • Regularly soak your feet in a vinegar solution of diluted bleach to get instant relief.\
  • Always keep your feet dry and far from wet or damp places.
  • Change your socks regularly.
  • Always try to wear breathable shoes if you produce large amounts of sweat.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public/wet places.            



Overall, athlete’s feet can be treated with persistent efforts from clients and doctors.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Understanding these above-mentioned causes, and management strategies can help you find this condition in its early stages and get it treated. Always remember to consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of specific situations for faster results.

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Dr. Pranjal Shamsher is the first Skin Doctor in Bangalore to offer natural, non-surgical and non-invasive treatments for skin disorders. She is a Registered Medical Practitioner (Registration No A-6516) and a true pioneer in Skin-Friendly Treatments.