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Athlete's Foot

  • By: Tamara Rosenzweig & Marie Wenzel
  • In: Encyclopedia of Lifestyle Medicine & Health
  • Edited by: James M. Rippe
  • Subject:Health Psychology / Behavioral Medicine, Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology

Athlete's foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a common superficial dermatophyte (fungal) infection of the foot, affecting approximately 15% of the U.S population. Tinea pedis may be characterized as interdigital, moccasin, or vesiculobullous, depending on the affected site and symptoms. Numerous over-the-counter topical antifungal products provide effective treatment and vary by dosage form, frequency, and duration of therapy. While it is important to recognize and treat athlete's foot as soon as symptoms arise, appropriate foot hygiene is key to preventing the spread of infection.

Causes

The causative organisms of tinea pedis are Trichophyton rubrum (60% of cases), Trichyphyton mentagrophytes (20%), and Epidermophyton floccosum (10%). While soil and animals are potential reservoirs for infection, most cases of athlete's foot are contracted from humans. Moist, warm host environments ...

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