athlete with athlete's foot

Las Vegas Podiatrist Dr. Pardis Kelly Shares Why Athlete's Foot Needs Prompt Treatment

One thing we stress to all our patients is this: if your feet are looking or feeling wrong—pain, itchiness, irritation, etc.—you should always take it seriously. That includes athlete’s foot!

Las Vegas Footcare provides care for athlete's foot and other nail and skin conditions affecting the feet. Contact us today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Pardis Kelly

Athlete's Foot Is More Than Just a Cosmetic Issue

Although you might be tempted to shrug off this condition as a “minor nuisance,” the truth is that you have a fungus living on you and damaging your skin! Even worse, untreated athlete’s foot can not only become more painful and severe, but can even spread to other parts of your body, including your nails.

In other words, by not acting quickly, your 1-month-to-treat athlete’s foot problem became a fungal toenail infection that may take more than a year to fully clear up!

There’s more bad news. Like many other foot conditions, athlete’s foot may appear visually similar to many other types of conditions. You might think you just have excessively dry skin, but actually have a much more serious infection. (The opposite is also true.)

That’s just one more reason why you always need to take skin problems with your feet seriously. Diagnosing and treating them quickly and effectively will help you keep your skin and nails healthy, beautiful, and comfortable. And this is something that Dr. Pardis Kelly can absolutely help you with!

athlete's foot | Las Vegas podiatrist

Diagnosing Athlete's Foot

The first step, of course, is figuring out whether your skin problem really is athlete’s foot, or something else entirely. And that can be tricky! We’ve got a few images that can help you.

Athlete’s foot usually presents itself as a scaly, reddish rash. Areas most commonly affected include the soles of the feet (especially for the “moccasin” type of athlete’s foot), the tops of your feet, and the spaces between your toes. The itchiness you feel is often, although not always, at its worst right after taking off your socks.

With severe athlete’s foot, you may even develop blisters or ulcers.

Here’s a quick image of someone with athlete’s foot. Notice both the scaly appearance of the skin and the reddish rash around the borders of the dry skin.

What Else Could It Be?

Some conditions that often get confused for athlete’s foot (or vice versa) include:

eczema | Las Vegas podiatrist


Eczema is a condition that impairs your skin’s ability to retain moisture and defend against irritants like bacteria or allergies. It’s thought to be genetic, tends to run in families, and can flare up suddenly after being dormant for a long time (even years).

Because eczema can sometimes produce nearly identical symptoms to athlete’s foot, telling them apart with 100% certainty may not be possible without examining a skin sample under a microscope.

However, in addition to scaly red rashes and itchiness, eczema may also appear with small, raised bumps that may even leak fluid. Eczema can also appear all over the body (not just the feet) and is often itchiest at night.


Psoriasis | Las Vegas podiatristPsoriasis is an autoimmune disease, also likely genetic, which triggers skin cells to grow much faster than normal. This causes them to pile up on the surface of your skin.

Here’s a good example:

Although both psoriasis and athlete’s foot can cause dry skin, itchiness, and pain, the “scales” caused by psoriasis tend to be much more whitish or silvery in color, as opposed to the reddish or brownish hue of athlete’s foot (and eczema).

Dry Skin

dry skin on the feet | Las Vegas podiatristOf course, it’s also possible that you just have “ordinary” dry skin, which would be the best-case scenario.

To be clear, that doesn’t mean dry skin is necessarily harmless! Dry skin can lead to severe cracking and fissuring that’s not only painful but, in some cases, can bleed or develop infections—a real problem for people with diabetes in particular.

Furthermore, if you already have eczema, simple dry skin may sometimes trigger a stronger flare-up of the disease.

Identifying and Treating Your Skin Condition

Even though all these conditions appear very similar on the outside—and in some cases, may have very similar symptoms—they are extremely different problems with very different implications for prevention, treatment, and management.

Athlete’s foot should demand your attention because, unlike the other conditions on this list, it’s the only one that is contagious. A fungal infection can easily spread to other parts of your body, your toenails, and even other people you live with.

The other side of that coin, however, is that athlete’s foot can also be cured by eliminating the fungus living on your skin. That doesn’t mean you won’t get re-infected later if you aren’t careful, but at the very least, you can get rid of it with treatment and prevention!

Most mild-to-moderate athlete’s foot cases can be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams, used as directed. Complete the full treatment course on the label! Don’t be tempted to quit using your cream early because your symptoms improve, or the infection will probably roar back to life.

If home treatments don’t help or don’t last long, give us a call.

Simply dry skin is also usually easy to manage at home, by applying a moisturizer to your feet every day and avoiding environmental triggers (like long and hot showers, harsh soaps or detergents, etc.) But do come see us if dry skin remains a constant problem, especially if there’s pain.

With psoriasis and eczema, unfortunately there is currently no known cure. However, if you suspect these conditions, please come see us or your primary care doctor as soon as you can. We can help you build a treatment strategy to help you manage the flare-ups and remain as comfortable as possible.

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