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Tinea Pedis

Tinea Pedis is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Clinical Consult.

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  • Superficial infection of the feet caused by dermatophytes
  • Most common dermatophyte infection encountered in clinical practice; contagious
  • Often accompanied by tinea manuum, tinea unguium, and tinea cruris
  • Clinical forms: interdigital (most common), hyperkeratotic, vesiculobullous and rarely ulcerative
  • System(s) affected: skin/exocrine
  • Synonym(s): athlete’s foot


  • Predominant age: 20 to 50 years, although can occur at any age (1)[C]
  • Predominant gender: male > female

4% of population

Pediatric Considerations
Rare in younger children; common in teens

Geriatric Considerations
Elderly are more susceptible to outbreaks because of immunocompromised and impaired perfusion of distal extremities.

Etiology and Pathophysiology

Superficial infection caused by dermatophytes that thrive only in nonviable keratinized tissue

  • Trichophyton interdigitale (previously mentagrophytes) (acute)
  • Trichophyton rubrum (chronic)
  • Trichophyton tonsurans
  • Epidermophyton floccosum

No known genetic pattern

Risk Factors

  • Hot, humid weather
  • Sweating
  • Occlusive/tight-fitting footwear
  • Immunosuppression
  • Prolonged application of topical steroids

General Prevention

  • Good personal hygiene
  • Wearing rubber or wooden sandals in community showers, bathing places, locker rooms
  • Careful drying between toes after showering or bathing; blow-drying feet with hair dryer may be more effective than drying with towel.
  • Changing socks and shoes frequently
  • Applying drying or dusting powder
  • Applying topical antiperspirants
  • Putting on socks before underwear to prevent infection from spreading to groin

Commonly Associated Conditions

  • Hyperhidrosis
  • Onychomycosis
  • Tinea manuum/unguium/cruris/corporis

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Stephens, Mark B., et al., editors. "Tinea Pedis." 5-Minute Clinical Consult, 27th ed., Wolters Kluwer, 2019. Medicine Central, im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116605/all/Tinea_Pedis.
Tinea Pedis. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, et al, eds. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. 27th ed. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116605/all/Tinea_Pedis. Accessed April 18, 2019.
Tinea Pedis. (2019). In Stephens, M. B., Golding, J., Baldor, R. A., & Domino, F. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Available from https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116605/all/Tinea_Pedis
Tinea Pedis [Internet]. In: Stephens MB, Golding J, Baldor RA, Domino FJ, editors. 5-Minute Clinical Consult. Wolters Kluwer; 2019. [cited 2019 April 18]. Available from: https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116605/all/Tinea_Pedis.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Tinea Pedis ID - 116605 ED - Stephens,Mark B, ED - Golding,Jeremy, ED - Baldor,Robert A, ED - Domino,Frank J, BT - 5-Minute Clinical Consult, Updating UR - https://im.unboundmedicine.com/medicine/view/5-Minute-Clinical-Consult/116605/all/Tinea_Pedis PB - Wolters Kluwer ET - 27 DB - Medicine Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -