Fungal Culture for Athlete's Foot
A fungal culture is used to find out whether
fungi are present and, if so, what type of fungus it
Your doctor will take samples by lightly scraping your skin
with a sharp blade or the edge of a microscope slide. He or she may also take
toenail samples if the nail is infected. The skin sample is placed in a container with a substance (called growth medium or culture medium) that helps fungus grow. If no fungus grows, the culture is negative. If a fungus grows, the culture is positive. The fungus will be identified with a microscope, chemical tests, or both.
Fungi are slow-growing, so it can take up to 6 weeks to
identify the fungi and get results.
Why It Is Done
A fungal culture may be done to
find out the cause of cracking, scaling, peeling, or blistered skin, or to find out why
there is an area of persistent irritation (and sometimes redness) on the feet.
The presence of fungi suggests that the condition is
athlete's foot (tinea pedis).
fungi are present in the skin or nail scrapings. Other skin tests may be done
to find out the cause of the skin or nail problems.
Fungi are present, and the type of
fungus is identified.
Treatment may vary depending on the type of
What To Think About
If you have been diagnosed with
athlete's foot before and the symptoms have returned, a fungal culture will
probably not be needed. Your doctor may suggest you treat the infection with
nonprescription or prescription antifungal medicine.
Complete the medical test information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this test.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Last Revised||June 1, 2012|