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What Causes Foot Fungus Between Toes

How Do I Prevent Fungal Toenails

Fungal Infections of the Foot

Here are various foot care solutions for preventing fungal infection in your toenails:

  • When having a pedicure, always ask how often the salon staff sanitizes their tools and how they do it: pedicure tools such as nail clippers can spread toenail fungus from person to person if they are not properly disinfected between uses. Steam sterilization is the gold standard for infection control and is required by foot care professionals such as chiropodists and podiatrists.
  • Wear moisture-wicking socks and change your socks midday if you have sweaty feet
  • Wear shoes made from breathable materials
  • Wear flip flops or a foot covering when visiting public pools, gyms, yoga studios, and locker rooms
  • Thoroughly dry your feet including between your toes after showering, and before putting on your socks and shoes
  • Air out athletic shoes after use to ensure they thoroughly dry before the next wear
  • Maintain good foot hygiene: Keeping your feet clean and dry will help reduce any risk factors for developing fungal infections. Healthy skin and toenails also reduces the likelihood of cuts or abrasions through which infections can enter your skin and toenails.

Moisture-control socks, shoes, and sandals are available in our clinic store and online shop.

We are open Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 6pm, and Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.

How You Get Athlete’s Foot

You can catch athlete’s foot from other people with the infection.

You can get it by:

  • walking barefoot in places where someone else has athlete’s foot especially changing rooms and showers
  • touching the affected skin of someone with athlete’s foot

You’re more likely to get it if you have wet or sweaty feet, or if the skin on your feet is damaged.

Page last reviewed: 08 June 2021 Next review due: 08 June 2024

When To See A Doctor

If youre not sure whats causing the itch between your toes and its not going away or its getting worse, follow up with your doctor. They can help pinpoint the underlying cause and help you choose the best treatment.

Another good rule of thumb: If your skin has been torn from scratching, it can raise the risk of an infection. If the scratched area looks swollen or has started to leak fluid, it could be infected. Be sure to get medical attention if you think you may have an infection.

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Using Antifungal Nail Polish

Curanail is a very popular treatment and gets excellent reviews, including one reviewer said she found it a great alternative to prescription Ciclopirox.

There are many different brand names, and some anti-fungal polishes are available in colors so you can more effectively disguise any discoloration.

  • Curanail only needs applying once a week and one pack has all you need for about three months.
  • You should not treat more than two nails at once. If you have more than two affected nails, see your doctor for advice and possible alternative treatments.
  • Be patient, as it can take as long as a year for the nail to completely grow out if the big toe is the one affected. But you will start to see results sooner so you will know it is working.
  • Don’t use normal nail polish on affected nails, nor to use this method on any nail affected by Candida fungus, which will need antibiotics.

Who Is At Risk Of Getting Athletes Foot

What Is Athlete

Athletes foot is very common and up to 7 in 10 people may suffer from it at some point in their lives. It got its name because it affects people whose feet tend to be damp and sweaty, which is often the case with athletes. However, anyone can get this infection. You are more likely to get it if:

  • The skin on your feet is damaged.
  • You walk barefoot in common areas, like gyms, swimming pools, communal showers and changing rooms.
  • You frequently have sweaty feet,or you suffer from hyperhidrosis . This foot fungus thrives in warm, moist and sweaty conditions.
  • You wear tight, closed-toe shoes that make your feet hot and sweaty.
  • You have a weakened immune system.

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Preventing Toe Fungus Its Possible

Here are some tips to help you prevent toe fungus:

  • Do not share towels or nail clippers with someone who has athletes foot.
  • In warm weather, wear open shoes such as sandals, or shoes made of breathable materials such as cotton, wool, or other natural, absorbent fibers.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in wet, public places such as locker rooms, pools, gyms, and public showers.
  • While at home, do not wear shoes so that your feet can air out.
  • Avoid wearing thick clothing for long periods during warm weather.
  • Change your socks every day.
  • Keep your nails short, dry, and clean as often as possible.
  • Use antifungal spray or powder if you are at a higher risk for developing toenail fungus.
  • Avoid picking or trimming the skin around your toenails, regardless of whether there is an infection present.
  • Air out your shoes between uses.

Causes Of Athlete’s Foot

You can catch athlete’s foot from other people with the infection.

You can get it by:

  • walking barefoot in places where someone else has athlete’s foot especially changing rooms and showers
  • touching the affected skin of someone with athlete’s foot

You’re more likely to get it if you have wet or sweaty feet, or if the skin on your feet is damaged.

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The Danger Of Waiting To Treat The Fungus

The greatest danger of not treating the foot or toenail fungus is that it can spread to other parts of the body, such as the hands and groin.

If for some reason you cant treat your toenails or your feet right away, at least use an antifungal topical cream on the surrounding skin, Dr. Ng says. That will help keep it from spreading and keep the skin intact.

What Causes Toe Fungus

More Health Problems for Foot Fungus Sores between Toes

Toe fungus is usually caused by an invasion ofdermatophytes on the toes. Fungal infections are usually contagious and spread easily and quickly from person to person.

Fungus thrives in warm, moist places such as public showers, locker rooms, swimming pools, and even personal showers that are shared by family members. Once a person comes into contact with the fungus, it spreads quickly, producing itching, cracked skin, bleeding, and blisters on the toes.

Another cause of toe fungus is hyperhidrosis. People who suffer from this condition have overactive sweat glands. This causes them to sweat excessively, particularly from their palms and the soles of their feet, regardless of the temperature.

If hyperhidrosis is the cause of the toe fungus, it must be addressed or the fungus will recur. Fortunately there are numerous treatments available. Conservative treatments often involve strong antiperspirants and medication, but there are surgical options if these methods do not work.

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How Is The Diagnosis Of Tinea Pedis Made

The diagnosis of tinea pedis can be made clinically in most cases, based on the characteristic clinical features. Other typical sites, such as toenails, groin, and palms of the hands, should be examined for fungal infection, which may support a diagnosis of tinea pedis.

Diagnosis is confirmed by skin scrapings, which are sent for microscopy in potassium hydroxide and culture . Culture may not be necessary if typical fungal elements are observed on microscopy.

Home Remedies: Foot Fungal Infections

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that usually begins between the toes. It commonly occurs in people whose feet have become very sweaty while confined within tight-fitting shoes.

Athlete’s foot is closely related to other fungal infections such as ringworm and jock itch. It can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal medications, but the infection often recurs. Prescription medications also are available.


Athlete’s foot usually causes a scaly red rash. The rash typically begins in between the toes. Itching is often the worst right after you take off your shoes and socks. Some types of athlete’s foot feature blisters or ulcers. The moccasin variety of athlete’s foot causes chronic dryness and scaling on the soles that extends up the side of the foot. It can be mistaken for eczema or even as dry skin. The infection can affect one or both feet and can spread to your hand especially if you scratch or pick at the infected parts of your feet.


Athlete’s foot is caused by the same type of fungus that causes ringworm and jock itch. Damp socks and shoes and warm, humid conditions favor the organisms’ growth.


These tips can help you avoid athlete’s foot or ease the symptoms if infection occurs:

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What Kind Of Doctor Treats Athlete’s Foot

Dermatologists specialize in the treatment of skin disorders, including athlete’s foot. You may find a board-certified dermatologist through . Additionally, family medicine physicians, internal medicine physicians, pediatricians, podiatrists , and other practitioners may also treat this common infection. Most primary care physicians can treat athlete’s feet successfully.

When It Is An Emergency

How to Cure Athlete

Cracks in or between the toes are rarely an emergency. However, if you have a weakened immune system or peripheral nerve problem from a condition such as diabetes, you need to pay particularly close attention to your feet. In such conditions, cracks in the feet may go unnoticed for long periods of time and become super infected.

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Home Remedies For Foot Fungus Between Toes

The symptoms of foot fungus include swelling, inflammation, thickening, yellowing or crumbling of the nail. There are various home remedies for dealing with foot fungus. Do you want to know which home remedy will help you treat of foot fungus between toes? If your answer is Yes, then you should read this writing. In this article, will show you top 7 home remedies for foot fungus between toes. The writing is collected from reliable sources. However, it is not intended to give medical advice and it is solely for the informational purpose. Keep reading this writing to understand more!

What Does Athlete’s Foot Look Like

Fungal athlete’s foot may cause a rash on one or both feet and even involve the hand. A “two feet and one hand” pattern is a very common presentation of an athlete’s foot, especially in men.

  • Hand fungal infections are called tinea manuum.
  • Fungal athlete’s foot may also be seen along with ringworm of the groin or hand.
  • It is helpful to examine the feet whenever there is a fungal groin rash called tinea cruris, or jock itch.
  • It is important to treat all areas of fungal infection at one time to avoid reinfection.
  • Simply treating the soles and ignoring the concurrent fungal infection of toenails may result in recurrences of athlete’s foot.

Read Also: What Toe Fungus Looks Like

See A Dermatologist To Pinpoint The Problem

Foot fungus wont just go away on its own, Dr. Ng says. If you think you have foot or toenail fungus, see your dermatologist, she says. There are several tests that your dermatologist can perform to identify exactly whats going on.

Its important to be aware that there are other diseases which can cause nail changes, she says. For example, we do see things like squamous cell skin cancers in the nail beds and even melanomas, which have a brownish or blackish discoloration.

Why Do I Get Toenail Fungus

What is toenail fungus?

Certain risk factors can make you more prone to developing fungal toenails:

  • A toenail injury that causes a cracked toenail or open sore around the toenail or cuticle
  • Age: The elderly have the highest risk of developing fungal toenails because as we age, our toenails get brittle and fungus can enter through cracks. Age also diminishes blood circulation, and poor blood flow makes a person more prone to infection.
  • Walking barefoot in communal swimming pools, gyms, yoga studios, showers, and locker rooms: These hot moist areas are breeding grounds for fungus. Because fungal infections are contagious, if someone else using the facility also had a fungal infection, the fungus will set up shop there, grow and spread to others who come into contact with it.
  • Sharing towels, shoes, nail clippers, or nail polish with someone who has a fungal infection
  • An existing athletes foot infection: Although athletes foot affects the skin, it can cause toenail fungus due to its close proximity to the toenails.
  • Reduced circulation in the feet due to conditions like peripheral vascular disease or diabetes
  • Plantar Hyperhidrosis: Fungus thrives in moist environments, so if moisture buildup from plantar hyperhidrosis goes unchecked, it can make a foot prone to fungal infections.
  • Wearing socks and shoes that dont properly ventilate or wick moisture away from the feet and toes.
  • Living in moist, hot, humid environments

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What Causes Soft Corn Between Toes

Calluses and corns on your feet usually develop when you use ill-fitting shoes or high-heels, but they can also be due to improper walking. These put pressure on your toes and make you more likely to develop foot problems. Some people also develop soft corn due to the presence of foot deformities or wearing shoes and sandals without using socks, leading to increased friction on the toes.

Rubbing, friction or pressure causes skin to thicken and form corns and calluses. However, if you develop a thickening or irritation even if there is no source of friction or pressure, consult your doctor for evaluation. It may not be a corn or callus, but a wart or foreign body embedded under the skin.

Your feet are usually moist inside your shoes and this is an ideal environment for fungal or bacterial growth. Infection can develop when bacteria enter the soft corn through breaks in your skin, causing your infected skin to release pus or fluid.

Question 2 Of : How Do You Treat Severe Foot Fungus

  • 1See a doctor to get a prescription for an antifungal medication. If the rash covers most of your foot, your skin is flaking off, or the infection has spread to your nail, its best to see a doctor. These kinds of fungal infections typically require stronger oral medication.XResearch source In most cases, your doctor will tell you to take the drug for 6-12 weeks until the fungus clears up.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
  • If your nail is in a really rough shape, your doctor may prescribe you a medicated nail polish or cream.
  • Your doctor may also suggest a minor surgical procedure to apply the antifungal drug directly underneath your nail, or remove it entirely.
  • These drugs are extremely effective, but they can cause damage to your liver for some people. Your doctor may suggest you get regular blood tests while youre taking the antifungal medication just to keep an eye on things.XTrustworthy SourceMayo ClinicEducational website from one of the world’s leading hospitalsGo to source
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    Diagnosis Of Athlete’s Foot

    Usually, athlete’s foot is diagnosed by simple physical examination. In cases in which laboratory confirmation is necessary, a skin culture is taken, or a test called a “KOH exam” is administered. During a KOH exam, a scraping of skin cells is deposited in potassium hydroxide , which destroys all but the fungal cells, making microscopic detection of the fungus much simpler.

    Treatment Of Tinea Pedis

    Athleteâs Foot: Natural Treatments for Relief (With images ...

    Tinea pedis may be treated with topical or systemic prescription therapies. Systemic oral medications carry the possibility of adverse reactions such as diarrhea or skin rash, making the relatively innocuous OTC products an attractive initial therapeutic choice.3,13-15 When recommending nonprescription products, pharmacists should stress the importance of adhering to the regimen, applying the substance as often as directed, and completing the full course of therapy as suggested on the label.

    Nonprescription treatment of tinea pedis is categorized into three generations, with succeeding products presenting significant advantages.3,16 The first generation includes clotrimazole miconazole and tolnaftate . These are indicated for patients aged 2 years and above.3 The patient is directed to apply the product twice daily, and it must be applied for 4 weeks. The labels state that the products will cure tinea pedis but do not indicate any difference in efficacy for the three subtypes. These imidazole compounds are not fungicidal, as they only interrupt development of the membrane of growing fungal cells. Thus, they are only bacteriostatic, which accounts for their relatively long application time. Of the three compounds in this class, tolnaftate is the sole agent approved for preventing annual recurrences, but patients who experience yearly recurrences have not achieved the promised cure, making more effective products preferable.

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    What Are The Clinical Features Of Tinea Pedis

    Tinea pedis tends to be asymmetrical, and may be unilateral. It usually presents in one of three ways:

    • Itchy erosions and/or scales between the toes, especially between 4th and 5th toes
    • Scale covering the sole and sides of the feet
    • Small to medium-sized blisters, usually affecting the inner aspect of the foot .

    It can also uncommonly cause oozing and ulceration between the toes , or pustules .

    How Is Athletes Foot Treated

    Athletes foot can often be treated with over-the-counter topical antifungal medications. If OTC medications dont treat your infection, your doctor may prescribe topical or oral prescription-strength antifungal medications. Your doctor may also recommend home treatments to help clear up the infection.

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    How Can I Prevent Athlete’s Foot

    Many people will develop athlete’s foot at least once in their lives. Some will get it more often. To help avoid it:

    • Wash your feet every day.
    • Dry your feet well, especially between the toes.
    • Sometimes go barefoot at home especially at night.
    • Avoid wearing tight or synthetic footwear that doesn’t allow your feet to “breathe.”
    • Wear sandals around pool areas, public showers, and gyms to steer clear of the fungus.
    • Wear socks that soak up wetness. Cotton is one material that does this.
    • Change your socks every day if they get damp.
    • Ask your parent to buy antifungal powder to put in your sneakers or shoes.
    • Spray your shoes with a disinfectant and set them in out in the sun to help kill germs.
    • Don’t share towels or footwear.
    • Keep home bathroom surfaces clean especially showers and tubs.


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