Athlete's foot


Carola Felchner

Carola Felchner is a freelance author at lifelikeinc.com and a certified exercise and nutritionist. She worked at various trade magazines and online portals before becoming self-employed in 2015 as a journalist. Before her traineeship, she studied translating and interpreting in Kempten and Munich.

More about the lifelikeinc.com expertsJecking and dandruff on the feet are possible symptoms for athlete's foot (Tinea pedis or tinea pedum). This skin fungus disease of the feet is very contagious, but can be treated well. Without therapy, however, it can become chronic. Read more here: What causes athlete's foot? What to do about the complaints? How does the doctor even diagnose athlete's foot? How can you prevent him?

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in medical reports or on incapacity certificates. B35ArtikelübersichtFußpilz

  • symptoms
  • treatment
  • Causes and risk factors
  • investigations
  • Course and prognosis
  • Prevent athlete's foot

Short Description: Athlete's foot

  • Description: Skin fungus on the feet, usually triggered by filamentous fungi
  • symptoms: Itching, dandruff, sometimes blisters and oozing
  • Treatment: antifungals (antimycotics) which are applied either externally (creams, ointments etc.) or internally (tablets)
  • Trigger: moist-warm environment, weakened immune system, damaged acid mantle of the skin
  • Contact Person: Dermatologist or specialist in foot diseases (podiatrist)
  • Forecast: With targeted therapy, athlete's foot usually heals completely.
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Athlete's foot - symptoms

The athlete's foot symptoms are initially limited to the skin at the beginning of the infection. Mostly affected people feel only one itch, then reddens the skin becomes light and begins to scale, The latter always does, even in healthy people. In an athlete's foot, however, the dissolving pieces of skin are larger and more numerous. So you can see it with the naked eye. The dandruff increases within a few days. Often whitish skin plates form on the foot, which look a bit like corneas, but are much softer.

The dander is not only unappealing. In the abraded skin, fungal spores can survive for days and be transmitted to other people.

Doing nothing at this stage against the athlete's foot can cause cracks in the keratinized skin that hurt when walking. Sometimes wet the affected areas also or it form small bubbles, especially at the sole of the foot.

If the bubbles burst, it can also be painful. Besides, it can be easy other pathogens penetration. In this way, bacteria can cause severe skin inflammation. That can be for example one erysipelas (Erysipelas). It develops very often in athlete's foot between the toes (Interdigitalmykose).

  • "Dry moist places"

    Three questions

    Prof. Dr. med. Hans Michael Ockenfels,
    Specialist in dermatology
  • 1

    Does athlete's foot also go away by itself?

    Prof. Dr. med. Hans Michael Ockenfels

    Theoretically, fungal infections can heal with the help of the body's own defense. The problem is that fungal infections affect the epidermis. Here it is much harder for the immune cells to kill fungal threads than if they were sitting a little deeper in the skin. In addition, untreated athlete's foot can also extend to the nails. And nail fungus is much harder to treat.

  • 2

    Can I get infected with athlete's foot again and again?

    Prof. Dr. med. Hans Michael Ockenfels

    After only a few days of treatment with an anti-fungal (antifungal) cream, the itching stops and the redness on the skin, especially in the area between the toes, decreases. This is deceptive, as it threatens to relapse after stopping the cream. This relapse is more due to the discontinued cream therapy and not necessarily to the renewed infection by fungal threads in laundry or shoes.

  • 3

    How long does an athlete's foot treatment take?

    Prof. Dr. med. Hans Michael Ockenfels

    An athlete's foot treatment should be carried out for at least one week on the resolution of the acute symptoms, that is usually at least ten days. A tip: In particular, the area between the toes is important. If you drain damp places here, for example with linen laps, this will support your cream therapy.

  • Prof. Dr. med. Hans Michael Ockenfels,
    Specialist in dermatology

    The director of the Skin and Allergy Clinic at the Hanau Hospital in Hanau is also a specialist in venereology, allergology, proctology and drug-based tumor therapy.

Forms of athlete's foot

In the space between the toes, athlete's foot is particularly popular. He likes the damp and warm conditions that prevail there. In addition to interdigital mycosis, there are also other forms of disease. Overall, physicians distinguish the following forms of athlete's foot:

Athlete's foot between the toes (interdigital form)

Here appear first symptoms between the toes, most often between the third and fourth toe. Gradually, the athlete's foot then spreads to the other toe spaces. The affected skin is reddened and itches. On the toe sides form small bubbles. When the skin softens, bacteria can additionally settle. This is noticeable, for example, in an unpleasant odor.

Horny athlete's foot (squamous hyperkeratotic form)

It affects mainly the soles of the feet: The athlete's foot symptoms occur first on the ball and the heel. Then spread to the foot edges and back of the foot. The affected skin is flaky and overly heavily keratinized. Many patients simply believe that they have particularly dry skin on their feet.

Due to their location, this athlete's foot is also called "moccasin mycosis", whereby the term "mycosis" means fungal disease. Particularly vulnerable are diabetics.