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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Athlete's Foot - When To Call a Doctor

Call your doctor about a skin infection on your feet if:

  • Your feet have severe cracking, scaling, or peeling skin.
  • You have blisters on your feet.
  • You notice signs of bacterial infection, including:
    • Increased pain, swelling, redness, tenderness, or heat.
    • Red streaks extending from the affected area.
    • Discharge of pus.
    • Fever of 100.4 °F (38 °C) or higher with no other cause.
  • The infection appears to be spreading.
  • You have diabetes or diseases associated with poor circulation and you get athlete's foot. People who have diabetes are at increased risk of a severe bacterial infection of the foot and leg if they have athlete's foot.
  • Your symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment or are not gone after 4 weeks of treatment with a nonprescription antifungal medicine.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a period of time during which you and your doctor observe your symptoms or condition without using medical treatment. You can usually treat athlete's foot yourself at home. But any persistent, severe, or recurrent infections should be evaluated by your doctor.

When athlete's foot symptoms appear, you can first use a nonprescription product. If your symptoms do not improve after 2 weeks of treatment or have not gone away after 4 weeks of treatment, call your doctor.

Who to see

Health professionals who can diagnose or treat athlete's foot include:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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