Before we dive into the pictures a quick word on terminology as there are a number of different names for foot fungus, many of which are used interchangeably. The most common term used is Athletes foot but the infection is also called toe fungus, ringworm of the foot and tinea pedis. As with all ringworm and tinea infections it is caused by a group of fungal organisms known as dermatophytes. These obtain nutrients from the keratin protein in skin, hair and nails.
In the case of Athletes foot the most common fungus involved is Trichophyton rubrum, but fungi belonging to the genera Microsporum and Epidermophyton (as well as other Trichophyton fungi) can also cause the infection. People who wear enclosed footwear (especially certain non-ventilated sportswear brands) where the feet and toes remain moist for long periods (for example from perspiration due to exercise) are most susceptible to infection. It is also thought that if localized defenses are weaker, for example as a result of a minor skin injury, the risk of infection increases. The fungus can also contaminate clothing, towels, bathrooms floors and showers.
Pictures of Foot fungus
The pictures of athletes foot fungus on this page have been sourced from the CDC Public Health Image Library. The image below illustrates one of the most common forms of Athletes foot, where the web of skin between the toes is infected. The infection is typically very itchy and causes scaling, peeling and cracked skin. It can lead to raw tissue being exposed as well as secondary bacterial infections if it is left untreated.
As illustrated in the picture below Athletes foot can also affect the foot soles. Here the infection is caused by the fungus Trichophyton rubrum. Again the result is peeling skin on the feet as well as scaling, flaking and itching of the affected area.
Foot fungus should not be confused with nail fungus infections (despite the fact that they can be caused by the same fungus). While foot fungus can usually be treated with an antifungal cream such as Lotrimin cream, nail fungus infections (Onychomycosis) are harder to treat and require specialized nail treatments. See more on toenail fungus treatment.