ZocdocAnswersHow do people get fungus on their feet?

Question

How do people get fungus on their feet?

Think I have a foot fungus. How did I get it? I play sports with friends on the weekend but that is the only physical activity I really get. Is it just from sweating in my socks and shoes?

Answer

The fungi that cause infections of the skin of the feet are found in many different environments, especially in humid, damp places. They are commonly picked up from gymnasiums, locker rooms, shower stalls, and the like, but they could also be picked up occasionally from walking outside barefoot or any number of potential exposures. Foot fungus comes in two major varieties. The first is athlete's foot, or tinea pedis. Symptoms of tinea pedis include itching, redness, and cracking or scaling of the skin on the sole of the foot and between the toes. The second is an infection of the toe nails themselves, or onychomycosis. Symptoms of onychomycosis include thickening and discoloration of the nails. Please talk to your primary care doctor about your symptoms, as they will be able to examine your feet and confirm whether or not this is a fungal infection. If it is, treatment will depend on the type of infection. Standard athlete's foot will usually clear up with just a topical anti fungal cream and good foot hygiene. Onychomycosis, or nail infections, however, are much hard to get rid of and often require taking an oral anti fungal medication for a long period of time.

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