What Is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is a type of fungal skin infection. Fungi (the plural of fungus) are microscopic plant-like organisms that thrive in damp, warm environments. They’re usually not dangerous, but sometimes can cause disease. When they infect the skin, they cause mild but annoying rashes. Fungal skin infections are also known as tinea infections.
When fungus grows on the feet, it is called athlete’s foot (or tinea pedis). It got this name because it affects people whose feet tend to be damp and sweaty, which is often the case with athletes. But anyone can get this infection.
Other fungal skin infections include jock itch and ringworm (despite its name, ringworm is not a worm).
Athlete’s foot usually causes redness, flakiness, peeling, or cracking of the skin on the feet. It may itch, sting, or burn, or simply feel uncomfortable.
It’s usually on the soles of the feet, the areas between the toes, and sometimes the toenails. When the toenails are involved they become thick, white or yellowish, and brittle.
Is Athlete’s Foot Contagious?