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Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection of the foot. The infection is contagious, but is usually not serious. It can often be cured at home with anti-fungal creams or sprays.
Athlete's foot is caused by an overgrowth of the tinea fungus on the foot. Everyone has fungal germs on their skin and they are not usually problematic. But sometimes there is an overgrowth of this fungus, which causes athlete's foot.
Athlete’s foot can happen to anyone, but the fungus is more likely to thrive and invade your skin in warm, moist, and airless environments.
It is usually spread by:
Athlete’s foot may cause a number of symptoms. It tends to start between the little toes, followed by an itchy, scaly rash.
Other symptoms of athlete’s foot include:
To prevent athlete’s foot, make sure your shoes fit well and are breathable, so your feet can remain cool and dry. You should also aim to change your shoes once every two to three days.
If you use communal changing rooms or showers be sure to wear shoes to protect your feet from infection.
You should also:
There is usually no need to see a doctor if you have athlete’s foot. Instead, visit your pharmacy where you can buy a topical antifungal treatment.
There are a few different types and they come as sprays, liquids or powders. They are all effective at treating fungal skin infections, so find the one that works best for you.
Follow the instructions on the treatment information leaflet because you may need to continue to apply it for a few days after the symptoms have disappeared. This makes sure the fungus is completely gone and will prevent the infection from returning.
There is no need to stay away from work, school or any other activities - just keep your feet covered in communal areas.
If the treatments from a pharmacy don’t work, or your infection is severe, you should visit a doctor.
You should also visit a doctor if:
Important: Our website provides useful information but is not a substitute for medical advice. You should always seek the advice of your doctor when making decisions about your health.