An athlete's foot is quite an unpleasant infection that affects many people all over the world. The infection develops when the fungi penetrate the skin on your feet. The most common symptoms of this condition include:

  • Irritation

  • Itching

  • Redness

  • Blisters

  • Toenails discoloration

An athlete's foot is a quite serious condition that can lead to unpleasant foot smell, toenails deformations, and significant discomfort. Additionally, it can increase your risk of developing urticaria, eczema, and dermatitis.

Even though an athlete's foot can be successfully treated by a foot doctor, people still tend to follow numerous myths and misconceptions. In this article, we have gathered five debunked myths about an athlete's foot you should stop believing in.

1. You can get athlete's foot only in public places

One of the most common myths is that you can get infected with athlete's foot only in public showers or swimming pools. The reality is that fungi can be located on many surfaces. This means that you can get infected even at home or while using the shoes of the infected person. 

The main problem is that an athlete’s foot can develop asymptomatically and may even not know that you are infected. That’s why it is important to use a spare pair of shoes at a party or other places.

2. Proper hygiene eliminated your risk of getting fungus

Indeed proper foot hygiene and nail care can reduce the risk of getting an athlete’s foot. However, you can still become infected. Fungi prefer a warm humid environment and can actively multiply on your feet if you wear tight shoes and don’t change your socks regularly.

3. Athlete's foot can’t be cured

There is a common misconception that fungal infection can be cured and it is only possible to reduce its symptoms. The reality is that fungal infection can be cured if it is treated consistently and correctly. That’s why you should visit a foot doctor for a treatment plan. 

About 30-40 percent of people can get rid of the athlete's foot with the help of local antifungal drugs. If local treatment doesn't help, it is worth taking pills. About 70 percent of people with fungal infection can be cured with this method. However, getting rid of the athlete's foot doesn't guarantee that you won't get infected again.

4. You can treat the athlete's foot at home

Indeed, three is a lot of antifungal remedies on the market. Most of them can be quite helpful and reduce unpleasant symptoms but fast and effective treatment can be performed only by a specialist. 

The reality is that an athlete’s foot can be caused by at least four types of fungi. This means that the treatment may depend on the exact type of fungi. That’s why you should visit a foot doctor for a thorough examination and proper medication. 

5. Abnormal changes in toenails indicate an athlete's foot

If you have noticed that your toenails have changed their color or form, it doesn’t mean that you have an athlete’s foot. There are a lot of factors that can cause toenail changes. The most common of them are:

  • Chemical impact

  • Medication

  • Stress

  • Poor diet

  • Smoking

  • Hormonal changes


It is important to distinguish fungal infections from abnormalities that are caused by other factors. That’s why you shouldn’t start to treat a fungal infection without a medical exam.

The bottom line

Even though an athlete’s foot can be easily cured, it is better to prevent its development. You should wear only your own shoes and avoid walking barefoot in public showers and swimming pools. Additionally, proper foot care and regular visits to a foot doctor can help you avoid many other foot issues.