8 Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is a very common fungal infection of the foot. This condition is a form of ringworm that’s also known as tinea pedis. The same fungus can also infect the scalp (tinea capitis), the skin (tinea corporis), or the groin (tinea cruris or jock itch). This infection gets its name because it often affects athletes, but anyone can get it, regardless of gender, age, or physical activity level. At some point, up to 70% of men and women develop athlete’s foot, which usually begins between the toes.

The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is found everywhere, including clothing, shoes, showers, and floors. The fungus will only infect skin when conditions are right, which means a moist and warm environment often found in shoes. Signs of athlete’s foot can include dryness, cracking, and redness between the toes as well as blisters and itching.

While athlete’s foot is contagious, it can be treated with an over-the-counter medication in most cases. When the condition has led to fissures or cracks in the skin, a prescription will likely be necessary. A doctor’s visit is not always necessary for athlete’s foot, but it is important for people who have diabetes or a weakened immune system. Without treatment, the fungal infection will get worse over time and may spread to other areas like the hands.

1. Skin Pain

Not everyone experiences pain from athlete’s foot, but it is common enough. The condition is most likely to cause pain when it goes untreated or spreads, especially if it spreads to toenails and causes onychomycosis. This can make the nails thick and crumbly with inflammation and pain. Athlete’s foot can also be painful when it causes cracks and fissures of the skin. This can become serious enough that it makes it hard to walk without pain.

If the skin is itchy, scratching the feet may be painful. It can also lead to raw skin and blisters, which may ooze and become very painful to the touch. Athlete’s foot that has become painful may be a sign that professional treatment is necessary.

A bacterial infection is the most common cause of skin pain associated with athlete’s foot. As the fungal infection worsens and spreads, it damages the skin and makes it more susceptible to bacteria. Bacteria may go very deep into the open wounds and lead to cellulitis, a painful and inflammatory condition. A secondary infection may also cause heat, swelling, pus, fever, and drainage of the skin.