Athlete’s foot is a rash on the skin of the foot. It is the most common fungal skin infection. Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that grows on the outer layer of skin. The fungi will grow best in warm, wet places, such as the area between the toes. Athlete’s foot spreads very easily. You can get it by touching the feet of a person who has it. But most often, people get it by walking barefoot near swimming pools, locker rooms or other public places. Once you come into contact with fungi, the fungi will grow in your shoes.
If you touch something that has fungi on it, you can spread athlete’s foot to other people—even if you don’t get the infection yourself. Some people are more prone than others to get athlete’s foot. Doctors don’t know why this is. After you have had athlete’s foot, you are more likely to get it again.
You can treat most cases of athlete’s foot at home with over-the-counter lotion, cream, or spray. For bad cases, your doctor may give you a prescription for pills or for medicine you put on your skin. Use the medicine for as long as your doctor tells you to.
You can do some things so you don’t get athlete’s foot again. Wear shower sandals in shared areas like locker rooms. Wear shoes that let air flow easily around your feet and do not wear the same shoes everyday. Allow them a few days to air out.