Athlete’s foot in children, toddlers and babies


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While mainly adults are affected by athlete’s foot, in rare cases, the fungi can also affect children’s skin.

When children are affected, greater caution is needed in treatment.

Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the feet worldwide, primarily caused by the fungal skin pathogen Trichophyton rubrum.

How to recognize athletes’ feet in children, and what medicines can be used?

How to avoid infection of children with athlete’s foot?

Find out here!

Medicines against athlete’s foot for children, infants, and babies

Athlete's foot treatment in children must be discussed with the doctor.
Athletes’ foot treatment in children must be discussed with the doctor.

If your child is infected with athlete’s foot, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible, preferably the pediatrician in charge.

The pediatrician will decide on the correct treatment of the athlete’s foot in the child.

By using fungicidal creams or solutions, the disease can usually be quickly brought under control.

However, since children are not the typical risk group, the infection is often detected late, and these medications no longer help.

Depending on the diagnosis and the course of the disease, the doctor decides on the appropriate medication for the treatment of the children.

I have provided you with an overview of the most important information from the technical knowledge of the medications.

In children, it is essential to pay attention to which drugs are approved for which fungi from how many years.

If the infection has already spread so far that external treatment does not achieve sufficient effect, the doctor may also decide on internal treatment with tablets.

The active ingredients terbinafine, fluconazole, or itraconazole can be used for internal treatment; these must be prescribed by the doctor.

Causes and risk factors for athlete’s foot in children

The unsightly and annoying infection of tinea pedis is often caused by filamentous fungi (dermatophytes) on the skin of the feet. From time to time, molds or yeasts are also responsible.

As a rule, older people, people with weakened immune systems, or people with poor circulation from the risk group, however, the disease can also affect children.

The disease is contagious and spreads increasingly in places where people walk barefoot.

Particularly with children, care should be taken to give them bathing slippers for the swimming pool. It also helps make children aware that they should not walk around barefoot in the cubicle at the sports club.

Public showers and changing rooms are ideal places for the pathogen to survive, thus increasing the risk of infection.

Always wear bath slippers to prevent infection.
Always wear bath slippers to prevent infection.

When children have a weakened immune system, they are more susceptible to contracting the athlete’s foot. The pathogen can penetrate the upper layers of the skin through micro-injuries on the feet. There it takes hold and slowly spreads.

The wrong footwear can also promote an athlete’s foot infection. Wearing too tight and impermeable shoes to air provides the fungus with the optimal conditions for growth: Moisture and warmth make the fungi thrive.

If a family member has an athlete’s foot, you have an exceptionally high risk of infection at home.

People lose countless skin scales every day while walking, and the fungal spores can easily survive on them for days to weeks.

Therefore, it is essential to ensure that everyone uses their towels, no clothes are shared, and floors are well and regularly disinfected.

The athlete’s foot can also spread to the nails.

While an athlete’s foot infection only needs to be treated for a few weeks, treatment for nail fungus always drags on for months and can even take over a year.

Detect athlete’s foot in children

When adults notice that their own child is constantly scratching their feet, action is needed. Itching is a prominent feature at the beginning of an infection.

Athlete’s foot can occur in a variety of manifestations:

  • Interdigital: swollen skin in the spaces between the toes.
  • Squamous-hyperkeratotic: dry, scaly, torn skin on the heel or edges of the foot (easily confused with callus)
  • Dyshidrotic: formation of tiny, itchy blisters
  • Moccasin: dry, scaly, slightly reddened skin on the sole
  • Oligosymptomatic: redness of the spaces between the toes, scales on the heels and edges of the feet, often in combination with nail fungus

The most common form is the interdigital form.

Usually, an athlete’s foot symptoms begin in the spaces between the toes, especially on the little toe. The skin often starts to peel and itch. There may be a burning sensation as it progresses, and the affected areas may become red.

In addition to the symptoms that can be recognized with the eyes (e.g., blisters on the skin), an unpleasant foot odor may also develop over time due to the athlete’s foot infection.

Athlete’s foot in children: Home remedies are popular

Especially when it comes to the little ones, parents first try to resort to alternative healing methods so that the children are spared from the chemical agents.

On the Internet, you can find a long list of home remedies.

Many swear by tea tree oil, garlic, or natural yogurt.

There are no scientifically based studies that prove the good antifungal (killing the fungi) effect of home remedies.

Do home remedies help with athlete's foot infection
Do home remedies help with athlete’s foot infection

Athlete’s foot: children can be protected

To prevent athlete’s foot from settling in children in the first place, it is essential for parents to implement a few tips in their daily lives:

  • The child should not walk barefoot, but only with bathing shoes or socks in public places (swimming pool, sports hall, changing room).
  • Wear shoes that are breathable and fit properly (to prevent heat accumulation and pressure injuries).
  • Shoes and socks should be changed daily and disinfected when necessary.
  • After showering, dry children’s feet and toes properly so they do not remain damp.
  • Wash socks and towels at 60 °C if possible, otherwise use a hygiene rinser.
  • A balanced diet is essential for good health. This creates a robust immune system that can fight off infection in a pinch.


Athlete’s foot in children, toddlers and babies
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