Athlete's Foot

Definition

  • Fungus infection of the feet
  • Causes an itchy rash on the feet and between the toes
  • Mainly occurs in teens

Call or Return If

  • Rash is not better after 1 week on treatment
  • Rash is not gone after 2 weeks on treatment
  • You think your child needs to be seen
  • Your child becomes worse

About This Topic

Symptoms

  • Red, scaly, cracked rash between the toes. Often, also involves the insteps of the feet.
  • The rash itches and burns. With itching, the rash becomes raw and weepy.
  • Feet may smell bad.
  • Mainly in teens. Before age 10, it's usually something else.

Cause

  • A fungus infection that grows best on warm, damp skin of the feet.

Prevention of Recurrent Athlete's Foot

  • Keep the feet clean and dry. Change socks if they are damp.
  • The fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.

After Care Advice

Overview:
  • Athlete's foot is common in teens.
  • It's caused by a fungus that grows best on warm, damp skin.
  • Here is some care advice that should help.
Antifungal Cream:
  • Use an antifungal cream 2 times per day.
  • Examples are Lamisil, Micatin or Lotrimin cream. No prescription is needed.
  • Put it on the rash and 1 inch beyond its borders.
  • Continue the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is gone.
Keep the Feet Dry:
  • Rinse the feet 2 times per day before using the cream.
  • Go barefoot or wear sandals as much as possible.
  • Wear socks made of man-made fibers. They will keep the feet drier and cooler than cotton. Change them twice daily.
  • The socks can be washed with the normal laundry. They don't need to be boiled.
Do Not Scratch:
  • Scratching infected feet will delay a cure.
  • Rinse the itchy feet in cool water for relief.
Prevention of Jock Itch:
  • The athlete's foot fungus can spread to the groin area. This is called jock itch.
  • The fungus can be spread by a towel or washcloth.
  • Therefore, after bathing, dry the groin area before the feet.
  • You can also use a different towel for the feet.
  • Do this until the athlete's foot is cured.
What to Expect:
  • With proper treatment, athlete's foot goes away within 2 weeks.
Return to School:
  • Children with athlete's foot do not need to miss any school. Your child may take gym and play sports.
  • Athlete's foot is not easily spread to others. The fungus can't grow on dry, normal skin.

Author: Barton Schmitt MD, FAAP
Copyright 2000-2019 Schmitt Pediatric Guidelines LLC
Disclaimer: This health information is for educational purposes only. You the reader assume full responsibility for how you choose to use it.
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