How to Treat Athlete's Foot

Find out what causes athlete’s foot and 7 easy ways to treat and prevent it.

Sanaz Majd, MD,
May 14, 2015
Episode #088

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Embarrassing medical symptoms shouldn’t keep you from talking to your doctor about them. I am always stunned to see patients live for years with certain conditions for fear of asking their doctor for help. Believe me when I tell you that there is no topic that is too embarrassing for us. We’ve heard and seen it all…and a lot more frequently than you think. On a daily basis, I see patients with complaints of body odors, rashes, STDs, itching, gases, sexual disturbances, etc. You name the embarrassing symptom, and I’ve seen it—again and again. 

That’s why I enjoy covering these sorts of topics. I know as a doctor how common they are and how many patients are afraid to ask. And I hope to help. So today I’d like to cover one of those topics that make many people squirm – athlete’s foot.

What is Athlete’s Foot?

The culprit of athlete’s foot is not a virus or bacteria, but a fungus. The technical doctors’ lingo for athlete’s foot is “tinea pedis.” Despite the name, athletes aren’t the only ones who experience athlete’s foot. The reason lots of athletes tend to contract this fungus on their feet is because they break a serious sweat, and they tend to walk around barefoot all over the locker room and shared public shower areas.

However, anyone at any age from childhood into adulthood can contract it. Fungus lives everywhere your feet go – in the shower, on the floor, around the pool, and in our socks and shoes.

What Are the Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot?

Patients with athlete’s foot often describe the bottom of their feet and in between their toes as:

  • Cracked

  • Scaling

  • Itchy

  • Red

And sometimes when severe enough, it can even cause blisters on the feet.