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TINEA PEDIS
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What is it?
Tinea pedis is commonly known as "athlete’s foot." It is a fungal infection of the feet, which is often seen in sports participants. Some sources say that 70 percent of athletes will have this condition at some point during their athletic career. Several types of fungus may cause athlete’s foot, all of which live well in moist environments. Thus, the infection is often spread through shower stalls or locker rooms and can thrive in damp footwear.

Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of athlete’s foot include a rash, pain, itching, and burning of the feet. This most commonly occurs between the toes, but can involve the soles and instep. Sometimes there may be redness, cracking, or flaking of the skin. Occasionally, a secondary infection with bacteria in addition to the fungal infection can occur, which can lead to increased redness and pain, as well as spreading of the redness up the foot or leg.

Sports Medicine Evaluation and Treatment
To diagnose athlete’s foot, a sports medicine doctor will examine the foot visually. While a simple exam is usually adequate for diagnosis, occasionally a skin scraping and microscopic examination can give confirmation. Treatment initially consists of a topical cream, spray, or powder. This will usually cure the infection over the course of 2-4 weeks. In more difficult cases, there are several different regimens of oral antifungal treatment that can be prescribed by a doctor, but this is usually not necessary. In the event of a secondary bacterial infection, topical or oral antibiotics will be needed.

Injury Prevention
Athlete’s foot is best prevented by good foot hygiene, which includes keeping feet dry and clean. Foot powder may be used to prevent breakage of the skin and colonization of the fungus in footwear. Avoiding occlusive footwear and limiting contact with stalls and locker room floors are also helpful preventative measures.

Return to Play
Following an athlete’s foot diagnosis, a doctor will determine when it is safe to return to sports activities. While this may vary by sport, most athletes can usually go back to participation immediately under the assumption that the fungal infection is localized to the foot and the foot can be adequately covered during competition.


AMSSM Author Members: Author: Nicholas R. Phillips, M.D.


References:
Steven M. Zinder, PhD, ATC; et al. National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement: Skin Diseases.
Journal of Athletic Training 2010;45(4):411–428

Category: Dermatology (Skin) Issues, Foot and Ankle, Infections,

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