Overview of Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot (tinea pedis) is a common persistent infection of the foot caused by a microscopic fungus that lives on dead tissue of the hair, toenails, and outer skin layers (dermatophyte). These fungi thrive in warm, dark, moist environments such as shoes, stockings, and the floors of public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools.

Athlete's foot is transmitted through contact with a cut or abrasion on the bottom (plantar surface) of the foot. In rare cases, the fungus is transmitted from infected animals to humans.

Dermatophyte (skin) infections cause raised, circular pimples or blisters that resemble the lesions caused by ringworm. The infections are named for the part of the body they infect; therefore, tinea pedis refers to an infection of the feet.

Incidence & Prevalence of Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is the most common type of fungal infection. Prevalence of the condition is affected by personal hygiene and daily activity. Athlete's foot is most common in men from the teens to the middle age and in people with compromised immune systems.

Publication Review By: James P. Licandro, D.P.M., John J. Swierzewski, D.P.M., Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jan 2000

Last Modified: 17 May 2011