What Is Athlete’s Foot?

Athlete’s foot is a contagious fungal infection of the feet that causes burning, itching and a bright red rash. Also known as tinea pedis, athlete’s foot is caused by the same fungus that causes jock itch and ringworm. In fact, athlete’s foot is sometimes called ringworm of the foot.

Athlete’s foot is the most common of all fungal infections and can affect anyone of any age, although children are rarely infected and women are less likely to get it than men. Your risk of getting athlete’s foot may increase with age. Other risk factors for getting athlete’s foot include:

  • Living in a warm, humid climate
  • Having sweaty feet
  • Not drying feet fully after showers
  • Wearing tight, closed shoes
  • Not wearing protective footwear at public pools and in locker rooms
  • Having a weakened immune system
  • Being diabetic
  • Having a previous athlete’s foot infection