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Also known as tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin on the feet. Like most fungal infections, it can spread quickly to the toenails and the hands. The fungal infection is commonly called athlete’s foot because it’s mostly seen in athletes. Warm, moist environments are ideal for fungal growth that’s why it is more common during the summer season. Itching is the hallmark symptom of athlete’s foot. If you think you have a foot infection, it would be a good idea to see a dermatologist. But if you want to skip the waiting room, you can find doctors online in Lahore or any city in Pakistan. Telemedicine mobile apps provide a one-stop online healthcare solution which connect you to online healthcare professionals for expert medical advice. 

Athlete’s foot is quite common. Research suggests that it occurs in around 3-15% of the general population. While it isn’t serious, it can be tough to cure. If you have diabetes or another chronic disease that could compromise the immune system and suspect you have athlete’s foot, you should call your doctor right away.

What causes athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot occurs when the tinea fungus grows on the feet. You get the fungal infection through direct contact with an infected person, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus. The fungus grows in warm, moist environments. It’s commonly found in showers, on locker room floors, and around swimming pools. If you have access to such public places and think you might catch a fungal infection then talk to your doctor about how you can prevent it. You can find doctors online and book a tele-appointment with doctor in Pakistan, in almost any city! My live doctors is an online health service that provides an online healthcare solution for patients who want to get treated from home!

Who gets athlete’s foot?

Anyone can get athlete’s foot, but there are certain factors that may increase your risk of getting it. For instance:

  • visiting public places barefoot, especially locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools
  • sharing socks, shoes, or towels with an infected person
  • wearing tight, closed-toe shoes
  • keeping your feet wet for long periods of time
  • having sweaty feet
  • having a minor skin or nail injury on your foot

Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot

There most common symptoms of athlete’s foot are itching, stinging, and burning between your toes or on soles of your feet. Other signs include:

  • blisters on your feet that itch
  • cracking and peeling skin on your feet, most commonly between your toes and on your soles
  • dry skin on your soles or sides of your feet
  • raw skin on your feet
  • discolored, thick, and crumbly toenails
  • toenails that pull away from the nail bed

If you have any of these signs or symptoms and aren’t sure whether it’s athlete’s foot or not, contact your doctor asap. Or you could send a picture of your feet to an online physician at My live doctors and get evaluated without going to the doctor’s office. 

How would I know I have athlete’s foot?

A doctor may diagnose athlete’s foot by the symptoms or you may be told to get a skin test if they aren’t sure a fungal infection is causing your symptoms. A skin lesion potassium hydroxide exam is the most common test for athlete’s foot. A doctor scrapes off a small area of infected skin and places it in potassium hydroxide. The KOH destroys normal cells while having no effect of the fungal infection cells hence they can easily be seen under a microscope.

Treatment of athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot can often be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antifungal medications in the form of ointments and creams. If OTC medications don’t treat your infection, your doctor may prescribe topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal medications. Home treatments may also be recommended to help clear up the infection such as soaking your feet in salt water or diluted vinegar to help dry up blisters.

Different OTC topical antifungal medications include:

  • miconazole (Desenex)
  • terbinafine (Lamisil AT)
  • clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)
  • butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra)
  • tolnaftate (Tinactin)

Can athlete’s foot lead to complications?

Though rare, athlete’s foot can lead to complications in some cases. Mild complications such as an allergic reaction to the fungus can lead to blistering on the feet or hands. It’s also possible for the fungal infection to return after treatment. Severe complications include secondary bacterial infection. In this case, your foot might be swollen, painful, and hot. Pus, drainage, and fever are additional signs of a bacterial infection. If the infection spreads to the lymphatic system, it could lead to infections of your lymph nodes.

Can it be prevented?

There are several things you can do to help prevent athlete’s foot infections:

  • Dry your feet thoroughly after washing with soap and water, especially between the toes.
  • Disinfect your shoes by using disinfectant wipes (like Clorox wipes) or sprays.
  • Put antifungal powder on your feet every day.
  • Don’t share socks, shoes, or towels with others.
  • Wear sandals in public spaces like swimming pools
  • Change your socks when your feet get sweaty.
  • Air out your feet when you are at home by going barefoot.
  • Wear breathable shoes.
  • Alternate between two pairs of shoes, wearing each pair every other day, to give your shoes time to dry out between uses. Moisture will allow the fungus to continue to grow.

Do you have medical queries? Find doctors online 24/7 at My live doctors and book a tele-appointment with doctor today! To know more about other common medical conditions and how to treat them, please visit