Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection that thrives in a warm, moist environment. It’s easily spread by contact with the fungus in a variety of ways:

  • Touching the feet of someone who’s infected
  • Sharing personal items, such as towels or shoes
  • Walking barefoot on contaminated floors, particularly damp floors at a pool or in a locker room

Preventing the spread of athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is easily prevented. If you are susceptible to the fungus, you can avoid an infection by:

  • Wearing shower shoes at the pool and gym
  • Drying your feet and between your toes thoroughly before putting on socks and shoes
  • Always wearing clean socks that allow your feet to “breathe”
  • Letting your shoes dry out before wearing them again
  • Not sharing anything that could have come in contact with the fungus, such as socks, shoes or towels.

Diagnosing athlete’s foot

Your physician can diagnose athlete’s foot through a physical exam and discussion of your symptoms. In rare cases, a skin scraping from the infected area may be analyzed in a lab to confirm the diagnosis.

Diagnostic Tests