What is Athlete’s Foot?

One of the most common types of fungus that people encounter is what is commonly known as athlete’s foot. Although most people have heard of athlete’s foot at one time or another, do you really know what it is? Let’s take a closer look.

Known medically as tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is a fungal infection in the foot. The most common symptoms are peeling, redness, itching, burning, and sometimes blisters or sores. It’s one of the most commons types of fungal infections, and it grows best in warm, damp areas like socks, shoes, pools, locker rooms, and the floors of public showers.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

There are four types of fungus that can cause athlete’s foot. However, the fungus that causes it most often is trichophyton rubrum. These fungi live on dead tissue of the hair, toenails, and outer skin layers.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot include:

  • Feet that are peeling, cracking, or scaling
  • Red feet
  • Blisters
  • Softening or breaking down of the skin
  • Itching/burning

There are three types of athlete’s foot.

Types of Athlete’s Foot

If you have athlete’s foot, it will be one of three types:

  • Interdigital: Also known as web infection, interdigital infection is the most common type of athlete’s foot. You will normally find this type of athlete’s foot between the two smallest toes. Common symptoms are itching, burning, and scaling. It can spread to the sole of the foot.
  • Moccasin: Usually starts with a little bit of irritation, dryness, itchiness, or scaling. Over time, the skin becomes thicker and may crack. The infection may spread to both the sole of the foot and the sides of the foot.
  • Vesicular: Of the three types of athlete’s foot, vesicular is the least common. With vesicular athlete’s foot, it begins with an outbreak of blisters. Usually, you find these blisters underneath the foot.

If you show any of these symptoms, you should begin treatment as early as possible to prevent it from spreading.