Athlete's foot (medically known as tinea pedis) is the common term for a skin infection of the feet or toes caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. They thrive in warm and moist environments such as changing rooms, showers, shoes and socks, so they are also happy living on your feet where conditions are similar. Athlete’s foot usually occurs between your toes, but it can also affect the soles and sides of your feet.
While fungus causes the main infection, yeasts and bacteria may also develop and cause other symptoms such as smelly feet.
Athlete's foot is very contagious and can spread easily by skin-to-skin contact or through contact with contaminated surfaces and items. Sharing contaminated objects such as towels, bed sheets and clothing can spread the infection. Contaminated public showers, swimming pools and changing rooms are also common places where athlete’s foot infection can be caught.
Athlete’s foot infection can also spread to other places of your body, causing other fungal infections such as jock itch. Click here to learn more about precautions you can take to prevent this spread.
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Tinea (dermatophytes) Candida (yeasts) and moulds are the main groups of fungi which may be living on your feet.