Tinea Pedis (Athlete’s Foot) Mimicking Erythrasma

November 30, 2012

One of two common presentations of tinea pedis, this morphology is more common in those whose interdigital space is tight, leading to moisture retention and maceration. Diligent use of any topical antifungal will clear this.

A 45-year-old man complained about moderate itching and scaling between his toes on both feet.

Key point: Along with dry scaling, this is the other common presentation for tinea pedis (athlete’s foot). (See related article.) This morphology, including confluent white, soft skin, is more common in those whose interdigital space is tight, leading to moisture retention and maceration. Any topical antifungal agent, used diligently for a long enough time, will clear this.

Treatment: Ciclopirox olamine 0.77% gel was applied once daily. The gel-based preparation, which has a high alcohol content, will help dry out this hyper-hydrated web space, thereby reducing the risk of recurrence.

Note: This clinical appearance is identical to that caused by a bacterium, Corynebacterium minutissimum. This disorder, called erythrasma, requires antibiotic therapy.