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Tinea Pedis

Tinea Pedis- a fungal infection of the skin that causes scaling, flaking, and itch of affected areas. It is also known as Ring Worm or Athlete’s foot.

The symptoms of athlete’s foot or tinea pedis typically include itching and burning of the feet.

The skin may peel or crack with or without any associated pain.

Commonly the rash is localized to the soles of the feet.

Sometimes the flaking skin may spread to the sides and tops of the feet in a moccasin distribution.

The digital interspases may have some moisture, peeling, redness and flaking as well.

Types of Tinea Pedis

Trubrum is the most common cause for tinea pedis.

Trichophyton mentagrophytes, and Epidermophyton floccosum are other causative organisms.

Vesicular tinea pedis-
Usually caused by T mentagrophytes.
This type is characterized by painful, pruritic vesicles most often on the instep.
Interdigital tinea pedis-
Usually caused by T rubrum seen more in hot/ humid environments
This type is characterized by redness, maceration, fissuring, and scaling between toes. It is also associated with itching

Chronic hyperkeratotic tinea pedis-usually caused by T rubrum.
This type is characterized by chronic redness on the bottom of the foot or sides with scaling.

Risk Factors

  • A hot, humid, tropical environment

  • Prolonged use of footwear

  • Hyperhydrosis- Sweating

  • Certain people may have a genetic predisposition to the infection

Work Up

In suspected tinea pedis a KOH (potassium hydroxide) staining may be ordered by the doctor for fungal detection by obtaining a sample of the flaking skin

Fungal culture- may be performed to confirm the diagnosis of tinea pedis. A culture can be used to identify the fungal species.


Tinea pedis can be treated with topical or oral antifungals. Some topical medications are over the counter. Topical agents are generally used for 1-6 weeks

Examples of Topical Medication

Topical Imidazoles

  • Clotrimazole 1% (Lotrimin)

  • Econazole 1% cream (Spectazole)

  • Ketoconazole 1% cream (Nizoral)

Topical Pyridones

  • Ciclopirox 1% cream (Loprox)

Topical Allylamines

  • Naftifine 1% cream (Naftin)

  • Terbinafine (Lamisil)

Oral Antifungals

Considered in patients with extensive chronic hyperkeratotic or inflammatory/vesiculartinea pedis

  • Terbinafine (Lamisil)

  • Itraconazole (Sporanox)


  • Keeping your feet clean and dry

  • Avoiding prolonged moist environments

  • Disinfecting old shoes

  • Periodic use of anti fungal foot powder in the shoes