Children's Athlete's Foot Treatment
Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Pediatric Athlete's Foot
What is Athlete's Foot in Children?
A bothersome fungal skin disease called athlete’s foot, officially known as tinea pedis, typically starts between the toes and quickly spreads throughout the base of the feet.
Athlete’s foot affects people of all ages, but can be more common in children and adolescents. It’s especially prevalent in those who often wear tight-fitting shoes, experience sweaty feet, and walk in common areas with bare feet.
Athlete’s foot is caused by the same fungal infection as ringworm and jock itch. Antifungal drugs can be used to treat it, but the illness frequently returns if precautions are not taken, such as getting rid of infected shoes and socks.
Continue reading to learn more about how athlete’s foot affects kids and how it can be treated. To schedule a consultation, please reach out to our staff.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Athlete's Foot?
An itchy, scaly rash is one of athlete’s foot’s most obvious symptoms, which is highly contagious and spreadable through contaminated surfaces, linens, and clothing
One or both feet may be inflicted by athlete’s foot and common indications and symptoms include:
- Skin that is flaky, peeling, or cracked between the toes
- Itching, particularly after removing shoes and socks
- Depending on your skin tone, inflamed skin may seem reddish or purple
- Stinging, itching, or burning sensation
- Blistering during different stages
- The bottom of the foot has dry, scaly skin that moves up the side
Consult your doctor if the rash on your feet doesn’t go away or improve after a week or two of using an over-the-counter antifungal medication for self-care.
See a doctor right away if you have any other infection-related symptoms, such as fever, pus in the afflicted region, or swelling.
What Causes Athlete's Foot in Children?
- Fungal infection – Athlete’s foot is caused by fungal organisms like Trichophyton or Epidermophyton that thrive in warm, moist environments. The fungi infect the top layers of skin on the feet.
- Going barefoot – Walking barefoot in public showers, pools, locker rooms etc exposes feet to fungal spores on surfaces. The damp warm setting promotes fungal growth.
- Sharing footwear/equipment – Sharing shoes, socks, towels or other items with an infected person can transmit fungus.
- Sweaty feet – Excess sweat creates a moist environment that allows fungi to proliferate, especially between the toes.
- Minor skin injuries – Small cuts or cracks in the skin can provide an entry point for fungi.
- Weakened immunity – Children with conditions like diabetes or immunosuppression are more prone to fungal infections.
- Using public facilities – Swimming pools, locker rooms and showers harbor fungus and increase infection risk if feet are not protected.
- Age and gender – Athlete’s foot is more common in teens and boys due to increased sweating and outdoor/sports activities.
- Warm climate – Warm, humid conditions provide ideal fungal breeding grounds.
- Tight, non-breathable shoes – Trapping moisture and heat in shoes creates a perfect environment for fungi.
How Is Achilles Tendinitis Diagnosed?
There are telltale signs, such as shape, color, and texture, of the infected area of someone with athlete’s foot that quickly help a doctor identify the condition. As mentioned, the same fungus causes ringworm, which can cause the ring-shaped rash for some with athlete’s foot.
Doctors can also conduct a skin test if they are unsure whether symptoms are being caused by a fungal infection or, for example, an allergic reaction.
The most frequent diagnostic procedure for athlete’s foot is a skin lesion potassium hydroxide examination. A little portion of the diseased skin is scraped off by a doctor and placed in a solution of potassium hydroxide. Because KOH destroys normal cells but does not affect fungal cells, the latter are preserved and may be easily seen with a microscope.
How is Athlete's Foot in Children Treated?
There are several effective over-the-counter topical antifungal drugs that are used in treating athlete’s foot. Your doctor may recommend topical or oral antifungal drugs with prescription strength if over-the-counter treatments are ineffective in treating the infection.
To aid in the healing of your child’s illness, your doctor may also suggest at-home remedies.
A common treatment performed at home is for the patient to soak their feet in diluted vinegar or salt water to eradicate the infection and help blisters dry up.
Children's Athlete's Foot FAQs
Not only can children get athlete’s foot, but it is often more prevalent in kids due to their lack of personal hygiene, in comparison to adults. Additionally, kids often find themselves barefoot in areas that are more prone to spread the infection, like locker rooms, shower stalls, and other public areas where moisture finds itself.
If your child seems to repeatedly get reinfected with athlete’s foot, it’s likely because they are continuing to wear shoes and/or socks that are carrying the fungus. If your kid’s athlete’s foot won’t go away, throw away their shoes and socks, as washing them may not be sufficient.
More often than not, athlete’s foot appears as scaly skin, often as peeling or cracking between the toes. The affected area is almost always itchy, particularly after removing socks and shoes. Depending on your skin tone, athlete’s foot inflammation may seem reddish, purple, or gray.
Athlete’s foot in children is usually treated with over-the-counter or prescription antifungal creams or ointments. Oral antifungal medication may be prescribed in more severe cases. It is important to keep the affected area clean and dry and to follow the treatment regimen as directed by the healthcare provider.
In rare cases, if left untreated, athlete’s foot can lead to a secondary bacterial infection. It can also spread to other parts of the body and to other people.
To prevent athlete’s foot in children, encourage good hygiene practices such as washing the feet regularly and keeping them dry, especially between the toes. Wear shoes and socks that allow the feet to breathe, and avoid sharing shoes or socks with others.
Yes, there are several over-the-counter treatments available for athlete’s foot in children, such as antifungal creams, sprays and powders. It is important to read the label and follow the instructions for use, especially for children under 12 years old.
There are several home remedies that may help to alleviate symptoms of athlete’s foot in children, such as using tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, or baking soda. It is important to note that these remedies have not been scientifically proven to be effective, and that they should not be used as a substitute for medical treatment.
Prescription medication for treating athlete’s foot in children should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider. The pediatrician or podiatrist will determine the appropriate medication and dosage based on the child’s age, weight, and severity of the infection.
Athlete’s foot can recur in children, especially if the underlying causes such as poor hygiene or wearing closed shoes are not addressed. It is important to continue to practice good hygiene, wear shoes that allow the feet to breathe and follow the healthcare provider’s instructions for preventing recurrence.