Tinea Pedis: What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

What Is Tinea Pedis?

athlete's foot

Tinea pedis is the medical term for Athlete’s Foot. Athlete’s Foot refers to a common fungal infection of the foot that typically affects the bottom of the foot and between the toes. It is characterized by itching, redness, and scaling. Tinea pedis is very common, affecting about 15% of the worldwide population. It is found more often in men than in women.


Tinea pedis is caused by contact with any one of the following fungi:  Trichophyton, Epidermophyton, and Microsporum. Contact may occur from going barefoot in a public shower, bathroom, or locker room. It can also be transmitted from person-to-person through contact of the infected skin or touching clothing carrying certain bacteria. The following conditions or factors increase the likelihood of developing Athlete’s Foot:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Poor hygiene
  • Weakened immune systems
  • Diabetes


Toe Web Infection

This type of tinea pedis refers to fungal infections that occur in between the toes.

Moccasin Infection

This type of tinea pedis refers to fungal infections that occur on the sole of the foot.

Vesicular Infection

This type of tinea pedis can occur anywhere on the foot and results in painful blisters.


  • Itching
  • Soreness
  • Burning on the soles of the foot
  • Blisters
  • Cracking and peeling of the skin
  • Drying
  • Scaling
  • Raw skin on the feet
  • Thick, discolored toenails
  • Soggy toes
  • Toenails that pull away from the nail bed

tinea pedis


Your primary care physician can diagnose tinea pedis, but they may refer you to a podiatrist for further testing and treatment. A podiatrist may take a skin sample to identify the type of fungus that has caused your Athlete’s Foot. Determining the type of fungus will help to decide the bets course of treatment.


The most common treatments for tinea pedis are oral antifungal medications and antibiotics. In some cases, topical steroids can help resolve the symptoms of Athlete’s Foot and expedite the resolution of the condition.

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