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Athlete's Foot

Tinea pedis (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection in the skin. The children infect each other. Itching and smarting between the toes are typical signs of athlete’s foot. The skin between the toes becomes red and cracks in the skin arise. Treatment with fungicide is effective, but it can be difficult to prevent the fungi from reappearing.

Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection. Athlete’s foot is typically seen among school children and only very rarely before the age of 4. Boys more often have athlete’s foot than girls. Children – who do a lot of sports and sweat a lot around the feet – most frequently, have athlete’s foot.

Itching and smarting between the toes are the first indications of athlete’s foot. Often, the skin is red with small blisters filled with liquid. Later, the skin between the toes softens and cracks.

If athlete’s foot is not treated, it will spread to other toes. Bacteria can also enter the cracks. In that case, the redness spreads and watery wounds arise, running with smelly goo.

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Athlete’s foot does not just infect directly from child to child but also via towels, footwear and floors.

Day care:
Children with athlete’s foot can attend day care and school.


Fungicide as crème is effective. Far most children get writ of athlete’s foot after a few weeks, when the skin is rubbed with fungicide. In rare cases, it is necessary with fungicide as tablets.

Children less than 12 years old should not be treated for athlete’s foot without instructions from a doctor.

What can you do?

There is an effective fungicide that can be bought over the counter. It is not difficult to get writ of the fungicide but it can be difficult to prevent it from reappearing. Fungi thrive in a moist environment like wet socks and shoes. Therefore, you must keep socks and shoes completely dry. It can be a good idea to dry the shoes with a hairdryer and sprinkle them with talcum powder or children’s powder. The child’s foot should be dried extra carefully, before putting on socks and shoes. Change the child’s socks at least twice a day and every time they become moist.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If you suspect athlete’s foot and your own treatment is ineffective.

Contact the doctor immediately

This is never necessary.