Athlete’s foot is a rash on the skin of the foot. It is the most common fungal skin infection. There are three main types of athlete’s foot. Each type affects different parts of the foot and may look different.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that grows on or in the top layer of skin. Fungi (plural of fungus) grow best in warm, wet places, such as the area between the toes.
Athlete’s foot spreads easily. You can get it by touching the toes or feet of a person who has it. But most often, people get it by walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces near swimming pools or in locker rooms. The fungi then grow in your shoes, especially if your shoes are so tight that air cannot move around your feet.
If you touch something that has fungi on it, you can spread athlete’s foot to other people, even if you don not get the infection yourself. Some people are more likely than others to get athlete’s foot. Experts do not know why this is. After you have had athlete’s foot, you are more likely to get it again.
Athlete’s foot can make your feet and the skin between your toes burn and itch. The skin may peel and crack. Your symptoms can depend on the type of athlete’s foot you have.
Toe web infection usually occurs between the fourth and fifth toes. The skin becomes scaly, peels, and cracks. Some people also may have an infection with bacteria. This can make the skin break down even more.
Your foot specialist can prescribe you medications, depending on your condition. They may also give home care instructions and foot hygiene advice.