What is Athlete’s Foot?

Contrary to what the name may suggest, athlete’s foot – also called tinea pedis – is not specific to athletes. It is the most common fungal skin infection, which occurs when the tinea fungus grows on the feet.

Not Just For Athletes

Symptoms of the fungus may appear differently depending on an individual’s particular case. Though athlete’s foot usually occurs as an itchy rash on the bottom of the foot, there are three distinct types:

  • Toe web infection: Found between the fourth and fifth toes, a toe web infection results in itchy skin that becomes scaly, eventually cracking. This infection can occur simultaneously with a bacterial infection, breaking down the integrity of the skin and worsening the condition.
  • Moccasin-type infection: Located on the bottom or heel of the foot and resulting in soreness, a moccasin-type infection involves the skin on the bottom of the foot thickening and cracking. This infection can spread to the toes, ultimately causing the toenails to thicken and turn yellowish in color before they fall out. Toenail infections, as a result of athlete’s foot, generally require a separate treatment.
  • Vesicular-type infection: A vesicular-type infection may begin with the sole of the foot developing fluid-filled blisters underneath the skin. However, these blisters can appear anywhere on the foot. This type of athlete’s foot infection can also result in a bacterial infection.


Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that grows on the foot. Athlete’s foot fungus thrives in areas that are warm and wet, which can make your feet a perfect environment for the growth of the fungi. Poorly fitted shoes that do not allow for proper air circulation often times result in athlete’s foot. Walking barefoot in areas that are wet, such as a pool or a locker room, increases your risk of contracting athlete’s foot. These areas are often times the origin of the fungi, which can then proliferate and continue to grow inside your shoes. Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread from one person to another, even if someone does not currently show symptoms of the infection. Once you have athlete’s foot, your odds of getting it again significantly increase.


Many cases of athlete’s foot can be treated and cured at home using over-the-counter powders and creams that may be purchased at a local pharmacy. More severe, persistent cases may require further attention by one of our physicians at American Foot & Leg Specialists. For these cases, you may be prescribed medicine in the form of a pill and/or a topical treatment, which can be applied directly to the affected and surrounding areas.

Simple steps such as wearing sandals around pools and in the locker room, are effective ways of keeping the fungi at bay. Additionally, keeping your shoes dry and well ventilated is very important. Wearing socks that wick moisture from the feet or using a talcum powder that can be applied to the feet, works to not only keep the feet dry, but to also limit your chances of getting athlete’s foot.


Dr. Marieli Colon, Dr. Loren K. Colon, and their fellow physicians at American Foot & Leg Specialists are ready to help you control or cure your chronic foot conditions. Make an appointment to get your feet checked if you are having a problem. All four American Foot & Leg Specialists locations are conveniently accessible to South Atlanta and cities such as Riverdale, Peachtree City, Griffin, and Morrow.

Each patient is unique: therefore, results may vary. 

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American Foot and Leg Specialists draws patients from all over the Atlanta area. Our 4 locations in Stockbridge, Forest Park, Fayetteville, and Locust Grove, are just short drive from Midtown, Buckhead, East Point, College Park, Riverdale, Jonesboro, Irondale, McDonough, and Peachtree City. Schedule a consultation today to eliminate your foot and ankle problems.