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What is Athlete's Foot?

Image for feet with red mark indicating pain at Achilles tendon.

Athlete's foot is a skin infection caused by fungus. A fungal infection may occur on any part of the body; on the foot, it is called athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis. Fungus commonly attacks the feet because it thrives in a dark, moist and warm environment, such as a shoe.


Fungal infections are more common in warm weather when feet tend to sweat more.  Fungus thrives in damp areas, such as swimming pools, showers and locker rooms.  Athletes often have sweaty feet and use the facilities where fungus is commonly found, thus the term "athlete's foot."


Athlete's foot usually produces itchy, dry, scaling skin. It is commonly seen on the soles of the feet and in between the toes. In advanced cases, inflammation, cracks and blisters may form; an infection caused by bacteria can also result. The fungus can spread to other areas of the body, including toenails.


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