Symptoms and Signs of Athlete's Foot

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 5/7/2022

Doctor's Notes on Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot refers to almost any inflammatory skin disease that affects the sole of the foot and the skin between the toes. It most often causes a red, raw-appearing rash with small blisters. Fungal infections are a frequent cause. The medical term for fungal athlete's foot is tinea pedis. Fungi that cause athlete's foot can be contracted in areas such as locker rooms, swimming pools, gyms, communal showers, nail salons, and from contaminated socks and clothing from someone with the infection. It can also spread directly from person to person.

Signs and symptoms of athlete's foot include a

  • red rash,
  • dry skin,
  • itching,
  • stinging, and
  • burning pain.

Other associated symptoms and signs can include

  • peeling skin,
  • cracking,
  • blister formation, or
  • the development of fissures.

What Are the Treatments for Athlete's Foot?

Most athlete's foot infections can be treated by over-the-counter products (OTC) that contain antifungals usually in an ointment or a cream and keeping your feet clean and dry. If there is no good response, your doctor may prescribe one the following, alone or in combination:

You can help reduce or prevent symptoms by changing socks, more than once a day if you get sweaty. Do not share shoes or towels; wear waterproof shoes or sandals in places like public pools or locker rooms.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.