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Tinea Pedis

What is tinea pedis?

Tinea pedis, or athlete's foot, is a foot infection caused by a fungus.

What increases my risk for tinea pedis?

Tinea pedis is spread when an infected person shares towels or walks barefoot in shower stalls or public locker rooms. Your risk of tinea pedis is greater if you do not wash your feet or do not change your socks every day.

What are the signs and symptoms of tinea pedis?

  • Cracks or blisters

  • Redness, swelling, itching, or burning

  • Scaly or peeling skin

  • Bad smelling feet

  • Thick, dark skin on the bottoms or sides of your feet

  • Thick, abnormal toenails

How is tinea pedis diagnosed?

Your caregiver may be able to tell you have tinea pedis by looking at your feet. He may gently scrape off some of your skin and look at the sample through a microscope. This will help him know the type of fungus that is causing your infection.

How is tinea pedis treated?

Tinea pedis is usually treated with an antifungal medicine. This medicine may be given as a cream, gel, or pill. You may need a doctor's order for this medicine. Take it until it is gone, even if your feet look like they are healed.

What are the risks of tinea pedis?

The fungus may spread and cause other skin infections. It is possible to get tinea pedis more than once.

How can I prevent the spread of tinea pedis?

  • Keep your feet clean and dry: Wash your feet each day and dry them well, especially between your toes. After your feet are dry, put powder on your feet and between your toes. Wear clean cotton or wool socks each day. Put your socks on first so you do not spread the infection to other areas of your body. Wear sandals, canvas tennis shoes, or other shoes that allow air to flow to your feet. This helps keep your feet dry. Avoid plastic or rubber shoes.

  • Soak your feet: If you have blisters, soak your feet in an astringent (drying) solution. Do this for 20 to 30 minutes, 2 times each day to help dry out the blisters. An astringent solution may be bought at drug or grocery stores.

  • Wear shoes in public areas: Do not walk barefoot in public places. Wear shower shoes or sandals in warm, damp areas. This includes shower stalls, near swimming pools, and locker rooms. Do not share socks or shoes.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • Your infection spreads or you have a rash on other parts of your body.

  • Your infection is not better in 14 days or is not completely gone in 90 days.

  • The skin on your foot or leg is red and hot.

  • You have an upset stomach or are dizzy.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a fever or chills.

  • You have red streaks going up your leg.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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