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Tinea pedis

Background

Overview

Definition
Tinea pedis, also known as athlete's foot, is a common dermatophytic infection affecting the skin on the feet.
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Pathophysiology
The pathophysiology of tinea pedis involves dermatophyte fungi, particularly Trichophyton rubrum, which thrive in warm, moist environments and cause the infection by breaking down keratin in the skin.
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Epidemiology
The prevalence of tinea pedis in adults worldwide is estimated at 2.9%.
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Risk factors
Risk factors for tinea pedis include wearing closed-toe shoes, which can create a warm, moist environment conducive to fungal growth, such as seen in athletes, soldiers, and miners. Other factors such as male gender and a personal or family history of tinea pedis have also been associated with an increased risk of the disease.
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Disease course
Most commonly, tinea pedis presents in the interdigital form, with symptoms such as itching, burning, malodor, redness, and scaling of the skin. In some cases, the infection can be asymptomatic, leading to a condition known as occult tinea pedis. More rare clinical presentations include chronic hyperkeratotic (moccasin distribution), vesicular, and ulcerative forms.
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Prognosis and risk of recurrence
The prognosis of tinea pedis is generally good as it is usually a self-limiting condition. However, it can recur or progress to more severe forms if not treated promptly.
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Guidelines

Key sources

The following summarized guidelines for the evaluation and management of tinea pedis are prepared by our editorial team based on guidelines from the Japanese Dermatological Association (JDA 2020) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP 2014). ...
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Screening and diagnosis

Diagnosis: as per AAFP 2014 guidelines, consider diagnosing tinea pedis based on clinical appearance. Obtain a potassium hydroxide preparation or culture when the appearance is atypical.
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Medical management

Topical antifungals: as per JDA 2020 guidelines, offer topical antifungal agents for the treatment of tinea pedis.
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More topics in this section

  • Oral antifungals