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Athleete's foot

Tinea pedis (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Athlete's foot is a frequent fungal infection that can easily occur in warm moist environment – e.g. exercisers who sweat a lot. Athlete's foot is not very contagious, but may run in humid rooms, where you walk on bare feet - for example, in indoor swimming pools. Intense itching and small cracks in the skin - especially between the toes, could show athlete’s foot. You treat athlete's foot with antifungal cream.

Athlete's foot is often present as an infection between the toes - especially at the little toe, but may also occur in the foot sole and the heel. Athlete's foot is rare in children and most commonly in exercisers. Fungus thrives in warm moist environment and joggers who sweats a lot and rarely change the damp socks are particularly vulnerable. The skin between the toes is itchy, scaly, cracks and can liquid. The skin on heels and soles become thickened and crevices with peeling.

Click here to assess the sick.


To avoid infection, you should use bathing shoes in the bathroom and the swimming pool. Avoid infecting yourself by switching socks every day. This is how you remove the fungal spores. Change socks when they become damp. This is how you remove the humid environment where the fungus can thrive.


You can buy antifungal cream at the pharmacy counter. The treatment lasts one week.

What can you do?

Air your shoes after use and wear socks of wool or cotton. Use sandals with air to the toes. Avoid shoes made of synthetic materials. After the bath, it is important that you dry your feet and skin between the toes thoroughly. If you suspect fungus in the sole of the foot or heel should seek medical attention.

What can your doctor do?

Fungus between the toes are so typical symptoms and the doctor can diagnose and proscribe antifungal cream without further testing. On suspicion of fungus on the heel and sole of the foot the doctor will take a scraping of the skin and send it for examination in a laboratory. If it turns out to be fungus the doctor can proscribe antifungal tablets.

What can a specialist doctor do?

It is not necessary to seek specialist.