What Is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is a common fungal infection; you don’t have to be an athlete to get it.
This ailment occurs in people of all ages.
What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
The majority of athlete’s foot cases are caused by a variety of fungi all belonging to a group called dermatophytes, which also causes jock itch and ringworm. The fungi thrive in closed, warm, moist environments and feed on keratin, a protein found in hair, nails, and skin. Rarely, athlete’s foot can be caused by non-dermatophytes, like yeast.
Athlete’s Foot is mildly contagious. It can be spread through direct contact with the infection and by skin particles left on towels, shoes, or floors.
Walking barefoot may increase your chance of contracting athlete’s foot. The risk of developing athlete’s foot can also depend on your susceptibility. For example, people who have impaired immune systems or diabetes are at greater risk of infection if they have an open cut or sore on their feet.
Athlete’s foot can occur on one or both feet. Common symptoms include:
- Itchy, scaly red rash between your toes
- Small, red blisters (usually on your soles or between your toes)
- Ongoing dryness and scaling on the soles and up the sides of your foot
- Ulcers or sores that leak fluid, smell bad, and look red