Athlete’s foot; from cause to treatment

Anyone can suffer from it. Athlete’s foot, often also called athlete’s foot. Athlete’s foot is not eczema, but it is a fungal infection on one or both feet. The fungus grows in the skin and/or nails and most often occurs between the toes. This is a warm and moist place for the fungus. How does athlete’s foot actually develop and perhaps even more importantly, how do you get rid of athlete’s foot?

What is athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of the skin on the foot. This infection is caused by fungi that attack the stratum corneum of the epidermis. The fungus, from the dermatophyte group, likes to grow in a place where it is often damp. This spot is between the toes. This fungal infection is most often contracted in the swimming pool or in communal showers. As a result, athlete’s foot is often also called athlete’s foot. This is incorrect because it is not eczema, but a fungal infection. The fungal infection causes an inflammatory reaction, after which a skin abnormality develops together with flaking of the skin and cracks between the toes. You may also suffer from itchy blisters on the soles of your feet or your toenails may be affected. It is not a unique or rare condition. As many as 10 percent of the population suffers or has suffered from athlete’s foot. It is notable that statistically men have a greater chance of developing athlete’s foot than women.
Athlete’s foot is a contagious condition. This means that a person with athlete’s foot can transmit it to another person. For example, the fungus of the foot can be found in loose skin flakes. If you come into contact with these shed skin flakes from a person with athlete’s foot, you can expect to get athlete’s foot as well. In communal shower facilities it is therefore wise to wear slippers while showering, for example.


The cause of athlete’s foot is fungus. Unfortunately, molds are everywhere and in every place and everyone comes into contact with them. If these fungi end up on the foot, they will grow between the toes, because they like to be in a warm and moist environment. Here the fungi feed on the stratum corneum. This is the material of the outer layer of the epidermis. Fungi that penetrate the skin, which is also the case with athlete’s foot, can spread further there. In this case you can speak of an infection.

Complaints & Symptoms

If you want to know whether you suffer from athlete’s foot, you should check whether the following things apply to you.

  • White flakes between the toes (sometimes accompanied by cracks)
  • Itchy blisters (especially on the soles of the feet)
  • Redness and flaking of the soles and edges of the feet
  • Yellow and crumbly nails (fungal nails)

If you have white flakes between your toes and an unpleasant odor, bacteria may also be present. This infection is often called toe cheese. If you have very severe athlete’s foot, you may even experience flakes of skin on your hands. This does not mean that there is mold on your hands. The above complaints can be symptoms of athlete’s foot, but also of various other conditions. To be sure that it is athlete’s foot, the fungus must be viewed under a microscope.


It is of course possible that you suffer from athlete’s foot. What should you do about this? Firstly, I would visit the GP for his or her advice. Treatment can be to combat the fungus using a cream, skin spray, lotion or something similar. This treatment may take several weeks. It is also important to clean the socks and shoes properly and thoroughly. Traces of the fungus may still remain in the socks and shoes, causing it to return again and again. Some iodine-containing products are also sometimes recommended to apply to athlete’s foot. These treatment products are available at pharmacies without a doctor’s prescription. Vinegar can also be a treatment for athlete’s foot. Vinegar has a preventive and healing effect. You can also try soaking your feet in a Biotex solution or smearing them with urea (from urine). Urea ensures that your skin can absorb moisture. This softens the skin and allows flakes to disappear more quickly.

Tips to prevent athlete’s foot

  • Wash your feet every day (preferably without soap)
  • Always dry your feet thoroughly
  • Wear clean socks every day
  • Make sure your shoes have good ventilation
  • Wear flip-flops in swimming pools or communal showers
  • Walk barefoot or in socks as often as possible indoors
  • Put talcum powder between your toes or in your socks


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