Skye likes writing about mental health, nutrition, and wellness. She is passionate about sharing information that will educate, and positively affect people's lives.
Leann Poston, M.D.
Leann Poston, M.D. earned her medical degree from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine. She completed an MBA from Raj Soin College of Business, focusing on healthcare. She is a full-time medical communication writer and educator.
April 20, 2021
Yes, ringworm can develop on the skin of your feet––it’s actually very common! When ringworm is on your foot, it is most commonly referred to as athlete’s foot. Its medical term is tinea pedis. It can cause itchiness between the toes and on the sole and can result in discolored toenails.
EverydayDr is partnered with PlushCare, a top telehealth company that connects patients with top online doctors. You can book a same-day appointment with PlushCare and get medicine prescribed online in as little as 15 minutes. PlushCare doctors can diagnose, treat, and even prescribe medication for ringworm on your foot. To make an appointment online, click here.
You can get ringworm on your foot or both feet. Ringworm can affect the foot in several ways.
If found on the top of the foot or the ankle, it may show up as a red circle rash or ring. This red ring can be raised and scaly, and is generally clear in the center, though a series of red bumps may crop up within the ring rash. It may or may not be itchy.
You can get ringworm on a toe or multiple toes, which is very painful since your toes are always rubbing up against each other. Ringworm can even affect your toenails–this type of infection can cause thickening of the toenail and a yellow or white toenail that detaches from the nail bed.
Regardless of the form, it is important to remember that ringworm can spread anywhere on the skin. By scratching the skin of the foot and touching other areas, you can spread the ringworm infection to different parts of the body, so avoid touching the area until the rash has been treated and is completely gone!
Ringworm on the foot is generally referred to as athlete’s foot and can most commonly be found between the toes. Athlete’s feet generally present as fissures in the skin or itchy red scales. Painful blisters may also occur, especially if this condition is not treated promptly.
Athlete’s foot is caused by exposure to a fungus. It is commonly picked up at swimming pools or in gym locker rooms, hence the street name “athlete’s foot.” It is transmissible by skin flakes left by an infected person. Athlete’s foot can become a chronic, recurring condition. Therefore it is important to follow certain hygiene guidelines to avoid infection.
Do: Wear sandals or flip-flops when walking in shower rooms or locker rooms. Keep toenails clean and clipped short. Keep feet clean, dry, and cool whenever possible.
Do not: Wear the same socks for more than one day. Wear damp or sweaty shoes for long periods of time–fungus thrives in warm, moist environments.
Athlete’s foot is treatable. However, the best offense is a good defense. Following excellent hygiene practices and avoiding contraction is the best way to deal with foot fungus.
“Although tinea pedis can affect any portion of the foot, the infection most often affects the space between the toes.”, warns the CDC.
The thing to remember is, that while ringworm may start on the toe, it will not end there unless treated promptly. Ringworm is moderately contagious and can be spread easily to other parts of the body, and other people as well.
In the early stages, ringworm on the foot can present as no more than an itchy red bump. Because of this, be cautious when scratching any red or itchy areas on the foot and promptly wash your hands afterward. If the ringworm is present on the top of the foot or ankle area, it will likely show up as a traditional ringworm rash: a circular patch or red ring with raised and scaly edges.
If it takes hold in between the toes, it will generally present as a case of athlete’s foot and cause a burning and itching sensation. As the infection progresses it will cause tell-tale cracking and scaling, but in its initial stage may just be red and itchy.
It is important to treat ringworm on your foot, as it can become a chronic or recurring condition if untreated. Without treatment, symptoms can become more severe and spread ringworm to other parts of the body. Later stages of ringworm on the foot, or athlete’s foot, can cause painful blisters between the toes or even on the bottom of the foot. These blisters can make walking extremely painful, and the skin of the foot can become thick and cracked.
The good news about treating tinea is that no matter where it spreads on your skin, treatment is the same. If you suspect you have athlete’s foot or any form of ringworm on the foot, some treatments and management tips include:
If the athlete’s foot doesn’t show signs of improvement after two weeks of treatment, contact a medical professional. They can prescribe a stronger topical medication or even an oral antifungal to help clear up the infection.
Ringworm can often be confused with:
When you see the first sign of a ringworm infection on your foot, talk to your doctor to rule out any other conditions that may present in a similar way.
The doctor will ask a series of questions to help diagnose ringworm and may even take a small scraping of skin for testing. If caught early, treatment should be fairly quick and easy. A topical antifungal can kill off the spores and help prevent the spread or worsening of symptoms.
You can get online treatment for ringworm on your foot through our telehealth partner, PlushCare. They were recently named a top startup by Forbes magazine and only work with doctors who graduated from the top 50 U.S. medical schools.
Make an appointment with one of their many trained doctors, and get convenient treatment for athlete’s foot from the comfort of your home.
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