Athlete's foot occurs when fungus or yeast grows on the skin of your feet. The most common symptom of athlete's foot is cracked or flaking skin between the toes or on the side of the foot. Over-the-counter medications and long-term treatment options are available.
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Athlete's foot is the most common type of skin infection with a fungus. It's a type of ringworm, just like jock itch. It usually starts between the toes where a damp, sweaty environment allows the yeast and mold of athlete's foot to grow. Athlete's foot spreads easily, often by contaminated floors (often around swimming pools and locker rooms), towels, clothing and exercise mats. Athlete's foot is easily treated, but it may occur again frequently.
Athlete's foot is most common in men and teenagers, people who wear damp socks, people who frequently walk barefoot in public areas and people with a weakened immune system.
There are three types of athlete's foot:
- Toe web infection, which usually starts between the fourth and fifth toes and then spreads to the top, bottom and side of the foot, is most common.
- Moccasin type infection starts at the heel and spreads over the bottom of the foot.
- Vesicular types of infections start as blisters, usually on the bottom of the foot, and may cause infection if the blister breaks.