What is athlete's foot?

Regardless of the pathogen, the disease has similar symptoms, mechanism of occurrence and treatment tactics. Fungus on the feet is a common and contagious disease. It is characterized by a high frequency of occurrence in the presence of accompanying conditions and diseases, for example, foci of chronic inflammation, endocrine diseases, reduced immune system and other diseases. As a rule, the disease is chronic in nature with exacerbations in summer and weakening of the process (remission) until winter.

Signs of mycosis

  • Color change
  • Inflammation
  • The appearance of stains
  • Erosion
  • Deformation and thickening
signs of mycosis

Types of fungal foot diseases

Depending on which types of fungi cause the disease, foot mycoses are divided into:

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

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

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

Mixed mycoses: 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 Candida genus have been widespread. It is assumed that this is due to the widespread use of various drugs, the action of which is related to the interaction with the immune system.


Athlete's foot is a chronic disease that is localized on the skin of the arches and interdigital folds of the feet, with frequent damage to the nail plates.

Mycoses of mold

Mycoses of mold are mostly common in countries where people traditionally go barefoot (Eastern and subtropical and tropical countries). In regions with a moderate climate, this type of mycosis also occurs, but as a rule in patients with immunodeficiency and in people who often come into contact with the soil and plants.

Forms of foot mycosis

There are several forms of mycosis:


It is characterized by peeling of the skin on the arches of the feet, possibly spreading to the surface of the toes. Areas of skin thickening and lamellar desquamation may also occur.


Similar to interdigital diaper rash. The inflammatory process is usually localized between the 3rd and 4th toes. The stratum corneum softens, becomes loose and peels off. Cracks and a whitish coating appear. The itching and burning starts. It is possible to add pyococci (pustular infection) and fungal flora, then the affected areas are covered with purulent-bloody crusts.


It is characterized by the appearance on the lateral surface of the foot and on the surfaces of the toes in contact with it, bubbles filled with a clear liquid and covered by a thick stratum corneum. Sag grains (vesicles) can be single or merge into multi-chambered vesicles. As the pyococci merge, the contents of the vesicles become cloudy, then they open and erosions are formed, covered with purulent-hemorrhagic crusts. Some patients notice inflammation of the lymph nodes and deterioration of general health.

Micids (allergic rash) are observed in 2/3 of patients with intertriginous and dyshidrotic forms of epidermophytosis.

Of course, the identification of clinical forms of epidermophytosis is conditional, because their combination often occurs; one form can be transformed into another. Everything depends on the reaction of the body, physical activity and treatment methods of the patient.

Also, with mycosis of the feet, the nails are often affected, mainly on the first and fifth toes. The nail plate acquires yellowish spots or streaks, the surface becomes cloudy and uneven, and keratinous thickening begins to appear under the nail, which later leads to the destruction of the nail plate.

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

Causes of foot fungus

The main causes of foot fungus are:

  • Excessive sweating or, conversely, increased dryness and flaking of the feet. These processes disrupt the protective function of skin cells.
  • Anatomical features: narrow spaces between the toes and their deformation, flat feet.
  • Problems with thermoregulation (maintenance of a certain body temperature) and microcirculation (transport of biological fluids).
  • Wounds, injuries that violate the integrity of the skin. Infections often occur through these injuries.
  • The presence of diseases that reduce immunity or lead to metabolic disorders (for example, endocrinopathies, blood diseases, oncology, etc. ).
  • Taking certain medications (antibacterial, cytostatics, corticosteroids).

Fungal infections of the feet are often combined with pustular rashes, so it is assumed that their relationship is: thanks to pyococci, dermatophytes penetrate deep into the subcutaneous tissue, and prolonged mycoses due to the formation of cracks, scratches and erosions contribute to increased susceptibility to infections.

Viral infection often occurs with foot fungus. For example, the causative agent of rubromycosis activates papilloma viruses and herpes viruses. This is manifested by an increase in the concentration of the virus on the surface of cells infected with fungi.

The source of the spread of the disease is people suffering from mycosis: during the peeling process, skin flakes containing pathogenic fungal infections are separated. These infected scales often end up on the floor and equipment in pools, bathrooms, and on pedicure instruments.

It is an interesting fact 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.

So, we must keep in mind that the general mechanisms that contribute to the development of fungal foot infections are caused by a violation of the body's natural resistance, changes in immune and metabolic processes.

Diagnosis of foot fungus

Diagnosis of athlete's foot includes:

  • Assessment of patient complaints and the presence of chronic diseases.
  • Microscopic examination of the 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 for evaluating the activity of antifungal drugs and determining the sensitivity of fungi to them.

For the correct selection of therapy, it is important to determine whether the changes on 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.

Treatment of foot fungus

The treatment of foot fungus must be carried out comprehensively; it is important not only to suppress the reproduction of pathogenic microorganisms and remove symptoms, but also to destroy pathogens and eliminate the cause of their occurrence (boost immunity, immediately treat small wounds on the feet, etc. ). It is necessary to treat accompanying diseases that cause the development of fungal infections.

Additionally, some people may have allergic reactions to certain mushrooms (such as mykids). In such cases, antihistamine (anti-allergy) drugs may be needed.

For the treatment of mycosis, as a rule, local preparations are used, that is, those that are applied directly to the affected area of the skin. 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 caused 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 antifungals are highly effective against pathogenic fungi of the genus Candida, dermatophytes (Trichophyton, Microsporum) and other causes of skin infections, gram-positive strains of staphylococci and streptococci. They block the growth and reproduction of fungi (fungistatic effect), destroy fungi (fungicidal effect) when used in therapeutic doses, have their own anti-inflammatory and antipruritic effect