Athlete’s Foot: Symptoms, Treatment and Causes

What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) is a common fungal infection that affects the feet. Normally, you can treat it with creams, sprays or powders that you can get from a pharmacy, but it can keep coming back.

What does athlete’s foot look like?

Symptoms of athlete’s foot

One of the main symptoms of Athlete’s foot is itchy white patches of skin between your toes. It can also cause sore and flaky patches on your feet. The skin can also look red, but this may be less noticeable on brown or black skin. Sometimes the skin on your feet may crack or bleed.

Other symptoms

Athlete’s foot can also affect the soles or the sides of your feet, sometimes causing fluid-filled blisters. If it’s not treated, the infection can spread to your toenails and cause a fungal nail infection.

Athlete’s foot is unlikely to get better on its own, but you can buy antifungal medicines for it from a pharmacy. They usually take a few weeks to work.

Athlete’s foot treatments are available as:

·      Creams

·      Sprays

·      Powders

They’re not all suitable for everyone – for example, some are only for adults. Always check the packet or ask a pharmacist. You might need to try a few treatments to find one that works best for you.

How to treat and prevent athlete’s foot yourself

You can keep using some pharmacy treatments to stop athlete’s foot coming back. It is also important to keep your feet clean and dry.


·      Dry your feet after washing them, particularly between your toes – dab them dry rather than rubbing them

·      Use a separate towel for your feet and wash it regularly

·      Take your shoes off when at home

·      Wear clean socks every day – cotton socks are best


·      Do not scratch affected skin – this can spread it to other parts of your body

·      Do not walk around barefoot – wear flip-flops in places like changing rooms and showers

·      Do not share towels, socks or shoes with other people

·      Do not wear the same pair of shoes for more than 2 days in a row

·      Do not wear shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty