What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

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So you’re suffering from this fungal infection and starts to wonder, what causes athlete’s foot? Also known as tinea pedis, this condition usually occurs first between your toes. The reason behind its manifestation will be tackled in this article. So read on.

What is athlete’s foot?

This is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin on a person’s feet, consequently spreading into the toenails and even in the hands. The condition is common among athletes, hence the name.

Athlete’s foot isn’t that serious, though. The tricky part is treating or curing it. People who have a weak immune system or diabetes must consult with their doctor right away if they suspect they are having athlete’s foot.

What does athlete’s foot looks like?

Athlete’s foot appears in the form of scaly rash with an itching, burning, and stinging sensation. Due to its itching nature, athlete’s foot usually makes the affected skin red.

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?

Sweaty Feet

It’s pretty simple. The most common victims of athlete’s foot are those people whose feet tend to become too sweaty. There are people who have “naturally sweating” feet even if they aren’t doing some vigorous tasks – don’t worry, you are not alone. The more you have moist feet, the more you become susceptible to this infection. More of this will be explained below.

Tight Shoes

Corresponding to the previous cause, you can suffer from athlete’s foot even if your feet are not “naturally sweaty.” There are other ways to make your feet produce some sweat – things like running activities and a hot weather. However, the most common cases root from a pair of feet that has become too moist while being confined within tight shoes.

Moist Feet

You already got the idea. But what does moist have to do with this? Bacteria can thrive under certain conditions – and moisture is one of them. The more your feet becomes moist, the more you are giving bacteria a place to populate and survive.

Moist Envirinment

Okay, enough blaming on your feet. You already know that bacteria need water to grow. On the flipside, bacteria can die without water. The best examples of highly-moisturized areas include kitchens and household bathrooms. Further, you are exposed to higher risks when you step on public places like locker bathrooms, common shower rooms, and other areas where there are contaminated floors.


Yes, you’ve read it right. You can get infected with athlete’s foot just by wearing and sharing clothes with a person who is already infected. Remember, bacteria is contagious and so it can hop from one host to another via cloth sharing. The most common cause is sharing socks. You can also get infected by sharing contaminated towels.


Athlete’s foot may appear small at first but there’s one thing that can significantly worsen the situation – scratching. By scratching or picking, you can potentially enlarge the affected area, infect other parts, and even transfer the bacteria to your hands.


What causes athlete’s foot? Unfortunately, there are a lot. But raising awareness upon yourself on what causes this fungal infection is the first step in preventing, even treating tinea pedis.

Pamela Couch

I am a designer, shoe-obsessed lifestyle expert, and founder of https://footwind.net/, a shoe boutique located in Downtown Atlanta. I love shoes and I love being able to share my passion for them with others.