Tinea Pedis (Athlete's Foot)

What is tinea pedis (athlete’s foot)?
Tinea pedis, commonly known as “athlete’s foot” is a very common fungal infection of the skin. The skin findings vary person to person. In some people, it appears as a white, moist rash between the 4th and 5th toe or redness and scale along the soles and sides of the feet. The affected skin can shed large amounts of white flaky skin and/or itch. Occasionally, it may appear as small fluid filled vesicles, which can be intensely itchy.

How did I get athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is contagious and may be contracted by contact with surfaces containing the fungus, including walking barefoot in the locker room. After the fungus is exposed to your skin, it grows best in a dark, moist, and warm environment. Classic scenarios include chronic sweaty feet inside shoes and/or incomplete drying of your feet after swimming, bathing, or exercising.

How is athlete’s foot diagnosed?
Dermatologists will often diagnose athlete’s foot from the physical examination. If necessary, an examination of the fine scales scraped from the skin can be confirmed under the microscope at your visit.

How is athlete’s foot treated?
In most cases, topical anti-fungal creams are effective and can clear the infection quickly. In more severe cases or if topical medications failed, oral anti-fungal pills may be prescribed.

How do I prevent recurrence of the athlete’s foot?
Dr. Liu often suggest a maintenance regimen of the prescription creams for my patients to follow to prevent recurrence. In addition, some simple hygiene steps can help prevent re-infection as noted below:

-Wash your feet daily with gentle soap and water
-Dry your feet thoroughly, especially between your toes, after bathing, swimming, or exercise   
-Avoid polyester or non-breathable socks that retain sweat and heat
-Wear cotton socks which absorb sweat
-Change socks daily or frequently if they become damp
-Use anti-fungal powder on your feet if necessary

What should I do if my nails become yellow and thickened?
If you have chronic athlete’s foot or recurrent infections, the toenails can become infected with fungus called onychomycosis. Consideration for treatment of onychomycosis should be discussed with your Dermatologist because it often requires oral anti-fungal medication. A recent alternative to oral treatment for onychomycosis is laser-directed therapy of the nails. This is most frequently performed by podiatrists, http://lasernailcenters.com.