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  • Athlete’s Foot

    Definition

    • An itchy rash of the feet and between the toes
    • Skin infection caused by a fungus
    • Age over 10 years

    Symptoms

    • Red, scaly, cracked rash between the toes
    • The rash itches and burns
    • With itching, the rash becomes raw and weepy
    • Often also involves the insteps of the feet
    • Unpleasant foot odor
    • Mainly in teens. Before age 10, it’s usually something else.

    Cause

    • A fungus infection that grows best on warm, damp skin

    When to Call Us for Athlete’s Foot

    Call Us Now (night or day) If:

    • Fever and looks infected (spreading redness)

    Call Us Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If:

    • Looks infected and no fever
    • Pus drains from the rash
    • Foot is very painful

    Call Us During Weekday Office Hours If:

    • You think your child needs to be seen
    • Rash has spread to the top of the feet
    • Age less than 10 years
    • Rash is not better after 1 week on treatment
    • Rash not gone after 2 weeks on treatment
    • You have other questions or concerns

    Parent Care at Home If:

    • Mild athlete’s foot

    Care Advice for Athlete’s Foot

    What you should know:

    • Athlete’s foot is common in teens.
    • It’s caused by a fungus that grows best on warm, damp skin.
    • Here is some care advice that should help.

    Antifungal Cream:

    • Use an antifungal cream 2 times per day.
    • Examples are Lamisil, Micatin or Lotrimin cream. No prescription is needed.
    • Put it on the rash and 1 inch (25 mm) beyond its borders.
    • Continue the cream for at least 7 days after the rash is gone.

    Keep the Feet Dry:

    • Rinse the feet 2 times per day before using the cream.
    • Go barefoot or wear sandals as much as possible.
    • Wear socks made of man-made fibers. They will keep the feet drier and cooler than cotton. Change them twice daily.

    Do Not Scratch:

    • Scratching infected feet will delay a cure.
    • Rinse the itchy feet in cool water for relief.

    Return to School:

    • Athlete’s foot is not easily spread to others. The fungus can’t grow on dry, normal skin.
    • Children with athlete’s foot do not need to miss any school. Your child may take gym and play sports.
    • The socks can be washed with the normal laundry. They don’t need to be boiled.

    Jock Itch Prevention:

    • The athlete’s foot fungus can spread to the groin area. This is called jock itch.
    • The fungus can be spread by a towel or washcloth.
    • Therefore, after bathing, dry the groin area before the feet.
    • You can also use a different towel for the feet.
    • Do this until the athlete’s foot is cured.

    What to Expect:

    • With proper treatment, athlete’s foot goes away within 2 weeks.

    Call Your Doctor If:

    • It looks infected
    • Rash is not better after 1 week on treatment
    • Rash is not gone after 2 weeks on treatment
    • Your child becomes worse

    Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.

    Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
    Copyright 1994-2013 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.

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