Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection (also called tinea pedis) that affects the skin on the feet. It can also spread to the toenails and the hands. This fungal infection is called athlete’s foot because it’s commonly seen in athletes. It mainly occurs in moist and warm spaces, therefore it is easy to get in changing rooms and swimming pools. You can reduce the risk of infection by wearing flip flops when you visit these places.


If you have athlete’s foot, you usually first notice itching between two toes. It can itch a lot – but it is usually treated easily at home with non-prescription medicines.


The fungus that causes athlete’s foot is called Trichophyton and is commonly found on floors and in clothing. Athlete’s foot fungus only infects the skin if conditions are right – it requires a warm and moist environment, for example, the inside of a shoe. It’s commonly found in showers, on locker room floors, and around swimming pools.


You can catch the fungus through direct contact with an infected person, or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus.


Athlete’s foot occurs when the tinea fungus grows on the feet. The fungus affects the skin so that the production of skin cells increases. It makes the skin thicker and scaly.


The problem is usually located between two toes; the most common location is between the small toe and the fourth toe, but athlete’s foot can also affect the toenails, soles and sides of the feet. It may itch and you can get blisters. Other common symptoms include skin peeling or flaking. You can also get cracks in the skin and see a red border between healthy and infected skin.

Prevention and protection

You can avoid athlete’s foot by wearing flip flops in swimming pools and other public areas where many people walk barefoot.


You can also:


  • wash your feet daily and dry thoroughly
  • wash socks at 60 degrees to kill fungus


Athlete’s foot can usually be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antifungal medications. Ask at the pharmacy what suits you best. If the condition itches, you can use cortisone cream to relieve the itching.  


If OTC medications don’t treat your infection, your doctor may prescribe topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal medications. Your doctor may also recommend home treatments to help clear up the infection.

When to consult a doctor

Contact a doctor if athlete’s foot does not clear up after treatment with over the counter, non-prescription drugs, or:


  • if athlete’s foot gets worse (to exclude other diseases)
  • if a child under ten years old has athlete’s foot.


If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system together with athlete’s foot

How APPOTEK can help

APPOTEK can help you with athletes’ foot. A nurse or doctor will make an individual assessment based on your symptoms during the online consultation. You may then be prescribed treatment or referred for further examination.


Valeria Chernikova, Neurologist, M.D.