Acute Care: Injuries and Illnesses
ATHLETES FOOT (TINEA PEDIS)
What is Tinea Pedis?
Tinea Pedis, or "Athlete's Foot", is a superficial fungal infection of
the feet. It is the most common fungal infection affecting up to 70% of
the population at some time. Fungal infections are usually enhanced by
heat, moisture and skin break down. Frequently it starts in the moist
toe webs then may spread along the base of the toes and soles of the
Not every scaly, red or oozing foot problem is due to fungal infection.
Bacterial infections, dermatitis, psoriasis and other skin diseases can
mimic a fungal infection of the foot. Persistent infections should be
seen by your physician.
What does it look like?
The rash of tinea pedis commonly has two forms. The moist and
inflammatory type is red with areas of blisters, oozing, and scaling.
The dry scaly type is slightly red with areas of scaling and thickening
of the skin. Tinea unguis or Onychomycosis is a superficial fungal
infection of the nails. It usually occurs in the toenails of persons
with tinea pedis. The nail becomes yellow, thick, and even crumbly.
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How is it treated?
The treatment of tinea pedis involves applying medicated antifungal
creams, lotions or powders to the skin, often for four weeks or more. In
more persistent or extensive forms of tinea pedis, oral antifungal
medications may be necessary. If the lesions are oozing or inflammatory,
soaking the feet in Bluboro's (Burow's) solution can help decrease the
In Tinea unguium, topical creams or lotions do not penetrate the nail
effectively. Thus treatment often requires oral antifungal medications.
Oral therapy needs close monitoring by your dermatologist or physician.
In both tinea pedis and tinea unguium, recurrences after treatment are
common. Thus "prevention measures" are an important part of the
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- Keep your feet dry!
- After bathing, dry carefully between all toes.
- Use an absorbent foot powder such as Zeasorb or an antifungal powder
such as Zeasorb AF.
- Wear "breathable" shoes or sandals when weather permits.
- If your feet sweat easily avoid boots, plastic shoes, tennis shoes.
- Wear absorbent, cotton socks.
- Change socks at least once a day more often if they get wet.
- Clothing (socks) and towels should be changed frequently and
laundered with hot water. Do not share towels or clothing.
- Regular cleaning of your shower floor with disinfectant or
bleach/water mix is advisable.
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