Do you have itchy feet? Are your feet red, swollen or cracking?
Do your feet stink? Maybe your feet sweat too much.
Tinea Pedis, commonly called athlete's foot, is an infection of the skin of the feet. It initially got its name from infections encounterd while participating in sports (either from athletic shoes or locker room floors), and is still very common in public showers or public pool areas. It is actually an infection, caused by a fungus (most commonly) or a yeast. This same fungus is well known for causing fungal nail infections (onychomycosis) also.
Although this condition usually involves the feet, it can also spread to other areas of the body including the groin or head. The ideal conditions for growth of this type of infection is a moist, hot location where fungus thrive. Add the darkness encountered in a shoe, and the foot is the ideal location for fungal growth and therefore athlete's foot.
What Causes Athlete's Foot?
Athlete's foot is an infection usually caused by:
- Fungus: Trychophyton rubrum or Trichophyton mentagrophytes
- Yeast: Candida
- Bacteria: (Less Common) Corynebacterium minutissimum (Erythrasma) or secondary infection with Staph or Strep (usually in addition to the fungal infection)
- Other: There are other causes of infection that are much less common, but may present with similar appearance.
The infections are usually passed persons to person in a moist communal environment (bath tubs, public showers, locker rooms, gym floors where people are barefoot, pedicure salons) or through sharing shoes (bowling shoes, ice skates, etc.).
Signs and Symptoms of Athlete's Foot
Presentations vary depending on the extent of infection, but may include any number of the following symptoms:
- Scaling and cracking
- Flaking skin
- Red itchy rash
- Beefy red coloration of skin
- Maceration (White moist skin)
With the addition of a bacterial infection, the symptoms may also include odor and significant draining.