What is athlete's foot?

Regardless of the pathogen, these diseases have similar symptoms, mechanisms of occurrence and treatment tactics. Athlete's foot is a common and contagious disease. It is characterized by a high frequency of occurrence in the presence of concomitant conditions and diseases, for example, chronic inflammatory focus, endocrine diseases, decreased immune system and other diseases. As a rule, the disease is chronic with exacerbation in the summer and attenuation of the process (remission) by the winter.

Signs of mycoses

  • Color change
  • Inflammation
  • The appearance of spots
  • Erosion
  • Deformation and thickening
signs of mycoses

Types of fungal foot disease

Depending on the type of fungus that causes the disease, foot mycoses are divided into:

Yeast-like mycoses: caused by fungi of the genus Candida.

Mold mycoses: provoked by the fungus Scytalidium spp. , Onychocola canadensis, Scopulariopsis brevicaulis, Aspergillus, Fusarium, Alternaria, Penicillium.

Dermatomycosis: caused by dermatomycetes from the genera Trichophyton, Epidermophyton. Fungi of this species need keratin to function, which is rich in the stratum corneum of the skin, nails and hair. The dermatomycosis group with primary damage to the nails includes rubrophytosis (the causative agent isTrichophyton rubrum) and athlete's foot (causative agent - Trichophyton interdigitale). Trichophyton rubrum accounts for approximately 80-90% of athlete's foot cases.

Mixed mycosis: caused by several types of fungi at once.

Each type of mycosis is described in detail below.

Yeast-like mycoses

Recently, foot mycoses caused by fungi of the genus Candida have become widespread. It is assumed that this is due to the widespread use of various drugs, whose action is associated with interactions with the immune system.


Athlete's foot is a chronic disease localized to the skin of the arch and interdigital folds of the foot, with frequent damage to the nail plate.

Mold mycoses

Mold mycoses are common in countries where people traditionally go barefoot (eastern and subtropical and tropical countries). In areas with a temperate climate, this type of mycosis also occurs, but, as a rule, in patients with immunodeficiency conditions and in people who are in frequent contact with soil and plants.

Foot mycosis

There are several forms of mycosis:


It is characterized by peeling skin on the arch of the foot, possibly spreading to the surface of the toes. Areas of thickened skin and lamellar peeling may also appear.


Similar to interdigital diaper rash. The inflammatory process is usually localized between the 3rd and 4th fingers. The stratum corneum softens, becomes loose and peels off. Cracks and whitish coating appear. Itching and burning begins. The addition of pyococcal (pustular infection) and yeast flora is possible, then the affected area becomes covered with a purulent bloody crust.


It is characterized by the appearance on the lateral surface of the foot and on the surface of the finger that is in contact with it, a bubble filled with a clear liquid and covered with a thick stratum corneum. Sago seeds (vesicles) can be single or combine into multi-chamber bubbles. When pyococci combine, the contents of the vesicles become cloudy, then they open, and an erosion is formed, covered with a purulent-hemorrhagic crust. Some patients note inflammation of the lymph nodes and deterioration of general health.

In 2/3 of patients with intertriginous and dyshidrotic forms of epidermophytosis, mycids (allergic rash) are observed.

Of course, the identification of the clinical form of epidermophytosis is conditional, because their combination often occurs; one form can change into another. It all depends on the body's response, physical activity and the patient's treatment method.

Also, with foot mycosis, nails are often affected, especially on the first and fifth toes. The nail plate acquires yellowish spots or stripes, the surface becomes dull and uneven, and horny thickening begins to appear under the nail, which then leads to the destruction of the nail plate.

By watching the corresponding video on the Internet, you can learn that foot fungus can be caused by various factors, and in order to choose treatment tactics for this disease, it is necessary to determine the type of fungus and determine the cause of its appearance.

Causes of athlete's foot

The main causes of foot fungus are:

  • Excessive sweating or, conversely, increased dryness and peeling of the feet. This process interferes with the protective function of skin cells.
  • Anatomical features: narrow space between the toes and their deformation, flat feet.
  • Problems with thermoregulation (maintaining a certain body temperature) and microcirculation (transporting biological fluids).
  • Wounds, injuries that violate the integrity of the skin. Through this injury, infection often occurs.
  • The presence of diseases that reduce immunity or lead to metabolic disorders (for example, endocrinopathy, blood diseases, oncology, etc. ).
  • Taking certain medications (antibacterial, cytostatic, corticosteroids).

Often, fungal infections of the legs are combined with pustular rashes, so assumptions are made about the relationship between them: thanks to pyococci, dermatophytes penetrate deep into the subcutaneous tissue, and prolonged mycoses due to the formation of cracks, scratching, and erosion contribute. to increased susceptibility to infection.

Often, with athlete's foot, a viral infection occurs. For example, the causative agent of rubromycosis activates papillomavirus and herpes virus. This manifests itself in an increase in the concentration of the virus on the surface of cells infected with the fungus.

The source of the spread of this disease is people suffering from mycosis: during the peeling process, fragments of the skin containing the pathogen of the fungal infection are released. These infected scales often end up on floors and on equipment in swimming pools, showers, and even on pedicure instruments.

An interesting fact is that mushrooms are very resistant and can be stored in thermal springs, chlorinated and ozonated water for 12-18 days. Water with a high salt or hydrogen sulfide content is harmful to fungi.

Therefore, we must remember that the general mechanism that contributes to the development of fungal foot infections is due to a violation of the body's natural resistance, changes in immune and metabolic processes.

Diagnosis of foot fungus

Diagnosis of toenail fungus includes:

  • Evaluate patient complaints and the presence of chronic diseases.
  • Microscopic examination of affected skin and nail particles.
  • Culture seeding is the placement of pathogenic microorganisms in a nutrient medium for their reproduction and subsequent accurate identification, as well as to evaluate the activity of antifungal drugs and determine the sensitivity of fungi to them.

To choose the right therapy, it is important to determine whether the changes in the skin of the feet are a fungal infection or dyshidrotic eczema, keratoderma, psoriasis and other skin diseases.

Antifungal drugs, agents, antimycotics

Antifungal agents: classification and types of dosage forms. Methods of using antimycotics.

Foot fungus treatment

Treatment of foot fungus must be carried out thoroughly; it is important not only to suppress the proliferation of pathogenic microorganisms and eliminate symptoms, but also to destroy pathogens and eliminate the cause of their occurrence (increasing immunity, immediately treating small wounds on the legs, etc. ). It is important to treat concomitant diseases that cause the development of fungal infections.

Also, some people may experience an allergic reaction to certain mushrooms (like mykids). In such cases, antihistamine (antiallergic) medication may be required.

To treat mycoses, as a rule, topical preparations are used, that is, which are applied directly to the affected skin area. Such products are produced in the form of ointments, creams, sprays, solutions, and varnishes (for nails).

Depending on the mechanism of action, antifungal agents can have a fungistatic effect, inhibiting the growth and reproduction of fungi, or they can have a fungicidal effect and promote the death of fungi.

Since foot mycoses are most often provoked by a mixed fungal flora, it is most effective to use broad-spectrum agents. These include drugs that have their own anti-inflammatory and antipruritic effects.

The use of special purpose products in the treatment of foot fungus

Modern antimycotic drugs are very effective against pathogenic fungi of the genus Candida, dermatophytes (Trichophyton, Microsporum) and other causative agents of skin infections, gram-positive strains of staphylococci and streptococci. They suppress the growth and reproduction of fungi (fungistatic effect), destroy fungi (fungicidal effect) when used in therapeutic doses, they have their own anti-inflammatory and antipruritic effect