Athlete’s Foot – What kills athlete’s foot fungus?

Athlete’s Foot – What kills athlete’s foot fungus?

Athlete’s foot, also called tinea pedis, is a contagious parasitic infection that affects the skin on the feet. It can also spread to the toenails and the hands. The parasitic infection is called athlete’s foot because it’s usually seen in athletes.

Athlete’s foot isn’t serious, however, sometimes it’s difficult to cure. If in case you have diabetes or a debilitated resistant system and suspect you have athlete’s foot you should contact your specialist right away.

Athlete’s foot facts

• Athlete’s foot is a disorder of the feet portrayed by scaling or potentially blistering of the soles, fissures of the toe webs, and itching.

• When caused by a fungus, athlete’s foot may spread to the palms and body.

• Fungal infections of the feet are contagious and can be spread person to person and by walking on defiled floors.

• Other causes of athlete’s foot incorporate contact allergy, erythrasma, bacterial infection, pompholyx, intertrigo, and occasionally psoriasis.

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• When athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus, it can be treated with antifungal medications, many are accessible without a prescription.

• Keeping the feet dry by using cotton socks and breathable shoes can help keep athlete’s foot.

What causes athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot occurs when the tinea fungus grows on the feet. The fungus responsible for it is called Trichophyton which is one of the dermatophyte fungi.

Dermatophyte fungus is an extremely pathogenic type of fungus which causes many infections in humans. It is highly contagious and transmits from person to person.

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

The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments. It’s ordinarily found in showers, on locker room floors, and around swimming pools.

Trichophyton is usually harmless and sometimes it is naturally found on human skin. If the skin is neat, clean and dry, it doesn’t leave any chance for trichophyton to reproduce and grow. But under the moist, damp or warm weather, it multiplies like anything.

Experts say that wearing plastic shoes in moist feet has the highest risk to get you athlete’s foot disease than anything else. Other materials used to make shoes have less chance of this risk. Not just the feet, if you are wearing damp socks and your feet are warm, there are chances to develop athlete’s foot.

It spreads through direct and indirect contact with the affected person.

  • Direct- skin to skin contact: It occurs when an uninfected person touches the infected part of anyone who has athlete’s foot.
  • Indirect contact: It occurs when an infected person is not required to get an infection. Rather a contaminated object with Trichophyton spreads the infection. It could be anything such as socks, towel, clothing, surface, bed sheets etc.

Among all places, those with high contamination of Athlete’s foot is swimming pools, community centers, communal showers, hotels, flight seats etc. People with the weaker immune system are more susceptible to get athlete’s foot.

Who is at risk for athlete’s foot?

Anybody can get athlete’s foot, however certain behaviors increase your risk. Factors that increase your risk of getting athlete’s foot include:

• visiting open places barefoot, especially locker rooms, showers, and swimming pools

• sharing socks, shoes, or towels with a contaminated person

• wearing tight-fitting, closed-toe shoes

• keeping your feet wet for a longer period

• having sweaty feet

• having a minor skin or nail damage on your foot

What are the symptoms of athlete’s foot?

There are numerous possible symptoms of athlete’s foot, which include:

• itching and stinging between the toes

• itching, stinging and burning on the soles of the feet

• blisters on the feet that itch

• cracking and peeling skin on the feet, most generally between the toes and on the soles

• dry skin on the soles or sides of the feet

• raw skin on the feet

• discolored, thick, and brittle toenails

• toenails that pulled from the nail bed

How is athlete’s foot diagnosed?

A specialist may diagnose athlete’s foot by the symptoms. Or, on the other hand, a specialist may arrange a skin test in the event that they aren’t sure this is causing your symptoms.

A skin lesion potassium hydroxide (KOH) exam is the most widely recognized test for athlete’s foot. A specialist scrapes off a small zone of contaminated skin and places it in potassium hydroxide (KOH). The KOH destroys normal cells and leaves the parasitic cells untouched so they are easy to see under a microscope.

what kind of doctor treats athlete’s foot infection?

Dermatologists are the doctor which treats all skin, hair and nails related problems. You should consult a dermatologist if you suspect athlete’s foot infection. You may find a dermatologist around you through online search. Or go to a healthcare provider/hospital and they will refer you to them.

How is athlete’s foot treated?

Athlete’s foot can frequently be treated with over-the-counter (OTC) topical antifungal medications. If in case the OTC medications don’t treat the parasitic infection, your specialist may prescribe topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal medications.

Your specialist may also prescribe home treatments to help clear up the infection.

OTC medications

There are numerous OTC topical antifungal medications, including:

• miconazole (Desenex)

• terbinafine (Lamisil AT)

• clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF)

• butenafine (Lotrimin Ultra)

• tolnaftate (Tinactin)

Prescription medications

Some of the prescription medications your specialist may prescribe for athlete’s foot include:

• topical, prescription-strength clotrimazole or miconazole

• oral antifungal medications such as itraconazole (Sporanox), fluconazole(Diflucan), or prescription-strength terbinafine (Lamisil)

• topical steroid medications to lessen the excruciating aggravation

• oral antibiotics if bacterial infections create because of crude skin and blisters

Home care

Your specialist may suggest that you soak your feet in the salt water or dilute vinegar to help go away blisters.

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) has been used as an optional treatment for treating athlete’s foot with some success. A scientific study published in the August 2002 issue of the Australian Journal of Dermatology announced that a 50 percent solution of tea tree oil viably treated athlete’s foot in 64 percent of trial participants.

Ask your specialist if a tea tree oil solution can help your athlete’s foot. Tea tree oil can cause contact dermatitis in some individuals.

When should you seek medical help?

At initial stages, trying only the home remedies will work too. Foot soaking is a good option to treat the fungal infection at the earliest stages. But if you notice redness, swelling, bleeding or scales on your skin, it is the sign that infection is spreading. It is the right time to consult a doctor and seek medical assistance.

Sometimes athlete foot infection also initiates a bacterial infection. In that case, using an antibiotic medicine is necessary. If you are diabetic or have a weaker immune system, consult your doctor immediately before trying any self-help plan for the athlete’s foot.

Athlete’s foot in pregnancy 

There is a high risk to get hit by athlete’s foot during pregnancy. The best treatment option for pregnant patients of athlete’s foot is to use vinegar diluted soaks and sprays. You can easily make this solution at home by adding one part vinegar in four parts of water.

It can be problematic to use oral medication for athlete’s foot in pregnancy. Using topical treatments like Lotrimin cream and soaks are better. They take two to three weeks for a complete healing.

Antifungal pills are strongly not recommended for the pregnant women. It may cause potential side effects in them which can damage the fetus. Always cross check with your OB/GYN before you start using any such medication or treatment during pregnancy.


Athlete’s foot can prompt complications in some cases. Mellow complications incorporate an unfavorably susceptible response to the fungus, which can prompt blistering on the feet or hands. It’s also possible for the fungal infection to return after treatment.

RELATED ARTICLE: Everything You Need To Know About Toenail Fungus

There can be more severe complications if a secondary bacterial infection develops. In this case, your foot may be painful, hot and swollen. Pus, the drainage, and fever are extra signs of a bacterial infection.

Furthermore, it’s also possible for the bacterial infection to spread to the lymph system. A skin infection could prompt lymphangitis(infection of the lymph vessels) or lymphadenitis (infection of the lymph nodes). Therefore, you need to treat it as soon as possible.

Long haul outlook

Athlete’s foot infections can be mellow or severe. Some tame a very long time to be cured while others are cured within a short period of time. Athlete’s foot infections, for the most part, respond well to antifungal treatment. Notwithstanding, sometimes fungal infections are hard to dispose of, yet, long haul treatment with antifungal medications might be necessary to shield athlete’s foot infections from returning.


There are several things you can do to help keep athlete’s foot infections. These include:

• Wash your feet with soap and water each day and dry them all together, especially between the toes. To kill the fungus, you should wash at 140°F (60°C) water or higher. Joining washing with OTC hostile to contagious recommendations should treat most cases of athlete’s foot. Concerning, you can disinfect them using disinfectant wipes (like Clorox wipes) or sprays.

• Put antifungal powder on your feet consistently.

• Don’t share socks, shoes, or towels with others.

• Wear sandals out in the open showers, also, around open swimming pools, and in other open places.

• Wear socks made out of breathable fibers, such as cotton or fleece, or made out of synthetic fibers that wick moisture far from your skin.

• Change your socks when your feet get sweaty.

• Air out your feet when you are at home by going barefoot.

• Wear shoes made of breathable materials.

• Alternate between two pairs of shoes, wearing each match each other day, to give your shoes time to dry out between uses. Moisture will enable the fungus to keep on growing.


Hilary Jensen

Hilary is a Food Science and Nutrition graduate with specialization in diet planning and weight loss. She enjoys reading and writing on Food, Nutrition, Diet, Weight Loss, and General Health.

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