Athlete's foot usually forms between the fourth and fifth (smallest) toes or third and fourth toes, producing skin cracking, white and soggy toes, scaling, and itchiness. The infection can spread to the soles of the feet. It's made worse by sweaty feet and wearing tight socks or shoes that stay in moisture. If a bacterial infection sets in on top of it, the skin will ooze, burn, and smell.
Moccasin-type athlete's foot doesn't cause itching or inflammation. The entire sole and heel become dry and flaky with loose, white scales that appear in a moccasin-like pattern. Sometimes the toenails can also become infected, which makes it more difficult to treat.
People with vesicular or blistered athlete's foot suffer from sore, fluid-filled blisters that occur between the toes and on the arch and sides of the foot. These blisters form in response to an allergic reaction to the fungi causing the athlete's foot.
Interdigital tinea pedis is the most common type and presents as maceration (softened tissue caused by soaking) and scales in the web spaces between the toes. This type may become ulcerative when a secondary bacterial infection occurs. Symptoms include painful ulcers between the toes, which often take a long time to heal.
Tinea pedis can lead to foot or leg infections (cellulitis). This can be particularly worrisome in people who have diabetes or chronic vascular diseases.