What is athlete’s foot?


Athlete’s foot is a skin infection caused by fungus. Athlete’s foot is also called swimmer’s eczema, because athlete’s foot is often contracted in swimming pools. A swimming pool is warm and humid: the ideal breeding ground for fungi. Once you’ve had athlete’s foot, it often comes back. The elderly, people with weakened resistance (for example due to illness or medication) and people with diabetes are also more susceptible to athlete’s foot.

What are the symptoms of athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot can be recognized by moist, gray-white dander and fissures between the toes. It can be itchy . The damp flakes are a pleasant breeding ground for bacteria that keep your feet from smelling so fresh. Athlete’s foot can also develop on the sole of the foot or on the edge of the feet. The athlete’s foot then manifests itself in red dander , sometimes with blisters. Blisters may form in the palms and sides of the fingers. This is a hypersensitivity reaction to the athlete’s foot and is also known as a spreading reaction.

What is the cause of athlete’s foot?

Fungi are everywhere and usually they are harmless. An infection will not develop until a fungus penetrates your skin and spreads. Usually, your skin prevents fungi from entering. If your skin is irritated, damaged or soft, or if you often wash your skin with soap, the protective function of your skin is less effective and a fungus can penetrate. 

Is athlete’s foot contagious?

Good to know: athlete’s foot is very contagious! Infected dander peels off and ends up on floors of public swimming pools, showers and saunas, for example. If someone else walks over it with bare feet, he or she may become infected. Dander also remains in socks and shoes. You can therefore re-infect yourself through your own socks or shoes.

How can you treat athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is usually superficial and easy to treat with an anti-fungal cream or ointment and anti-fungal powder. It often takes two to four weeks before you see improvement. How to treat athlete’s foot:

  • Use an anti-fungal cream or ointment to kill the fungus. Spread a thin layer of cream or ointment on the fungus and about two inches around the fungus. Do this twice a day.
  • Use anti-fungal powder to kill mold spores in your shoes and socks.
  • Use zinc oil, zinc ointment or talcum powder to dry moist mold spots.