Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis)

Athlete's Foot

  • A red, scaly, cracked rash between the toes
  • Itchy, burning rash
  • Rash raw and weepy with scratching
  • Often spreads to instep
  • Unpleasant foot odor
  • Mainly occurs in adolescents

Athlete’s Foot Cause

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus infection that grows best on warm, damp skin.

Expected Course

With proper treatment, it usually clears in 2 to 3 weeks.

Home Care for Athlete’s Foot

Antifungal Cream. Buy Tinactin, Micatin, or Lotrimin cream at your drugstore. You won’t need a prescription. First rinse the feet in plain water or water with a little white vinegar added. Dry the feet carefully, especially between the toes, then apply the cream to the rash area and well beyond its borders twice a day. Continue the cream for several weeks or for at least 7 days after the rash seems to have cleared. Successful treatment often takes 3-4 weeks.

Dryness. Athlete’s foot improves dramatically if the feet are kept dry. It helps to go barefoot or wear sandals or thongs as much as possible. Wear shoes that allow the feet to breathe. Cotton socks should be worn because they absorb sweat and keep the feet dry. Change the socks twice daily. Dry the feet thoroughly after baths and showers.

Foot Odor. Foot odor will often clear as the athlete’s foot improves. Rinsing the feet and changing the socks twice daily are essential. If that doesn’t work, rinse the feet in a basin of warm water containing 1 ounce of vinegar. If you can still smell your child coming, take off his tennis shoes and wash them in your washing machine with some soap and bleach.

Discourage Scratching. Scratching infected feet will delay a cure.

Contagiousness. The condition is not very contagious. The fungus won’t grow on dry, normal skin. Your child may take physical education and continue with sports.


  • It looks infected (yellow pus, spreading redness, red streaks).

During regular hours if

  • The athlete’s foot is not improved in 1 week.
  • It is not completely cured after using this treatment for 4 weeks.
  • You have other concerns or questions.