Eczema VS Athletes Foot: Which One Do I Have? (Let’s Find Out)

Two very common types of skin conditions are athlete’s foot and eczema. It is easy to see why people confuse the two conditions because they share similar symptoms. However, when it comes to eczema vs athletes foot they have qualities that make them unique. Neither of the conditions requires immediate medical treatment. But this doesn’t stop people from becoming concerned when the symptoms first appear on their skin. Below, you will discover an in-depth article about eczema vs athletes foot, so you can determine which one you are suffering from without visiting a licensed physician.


It is true that eczema and athlete’s foot share a lot of similarities. This is why a lot of people cannot tell the difference between them. In fact, it is often necessary to visit a doctor to determine which one you’re suffering with. So, what are the similarities of athlete’s foot and eczema? Well, both share the same symptoms. Both are a skin condition that is going to result in skin irritation. At the same time, the conditions look similar on the skin.

When you look at either, you won’t be able to tell them apart easily. Despite looking the same, there are major differences between them as well. The differences will be explored in greater depth lower in this article.


As mentioned above, eczema and athlete’s foot will both look very similar. They share the same symptoms and this means that they’re going to look nearly identical on the skin. Both will result in your skin developing red patches. You might also develop blisters. Again, it can be really tough to tell the two apart and you may need to speak with a medical professional to find out what the problem really is.


As mentioned above, athlete’s foot, Tinea pedis, and eczema, dermatitis, share some of the same symptoms. These symptoms include itchy, dry, flaky, cracked, red skin. The symptoms generally appear in patches that vary in size, depending on the severity of the outbreak.

While the two conditions share similar symptoms, the targeted areas are somewhat unique. Eczema targets the entire body. However, the patches are more commonly found inside the elbows, behind the knees and on the face, hands, and feet. Athlete’s foot, on the other hand, only targets the feet, especially the areas between the toes.

So, if you discover patches of irritated skin on your body, besides the feet, it is most likely eczema. If the patches appear on your feet, it will be more difficult to determine which condition is the culprit. According to MedlinePlus, athlete’s foot generally “affects the space between the toes”. To make things even more confusing, patches on the top and bottom of the feet and around the ankles could be either athlete’s foot or eczema.


Despite sharing many similarities, athlete’s foot and eczema have lots of differences as well. One of the best ways to determine which problem you’re experiencing is by analyzing the differences. Below, you’re going to learn a great deal more about the differences.

The Causes

First and foremost, you should know that the causes of the conditions are different. When it comes to eczema, the cause is not actually known. (1) There are a handful of potential causes of eczema. It is believed that the condition might be the result of an overreaction of the body’s immune system. The cause of athlete’s foot is much different. This condition is actually caused by fungi. The fungi thrive in environments that are warm and moist. Therefore, there is a pretty good chance that you’re going to develop athlete’s foot after you shower in a public place.

Impacted Areas

Another thing to note is that athlete’s foot impacts a certain area. As the name suggests, it is generally only going to target the foot. Eczema is a little more versatile. While it can impact the feet, it is also going to spread elsewhere. For instance, eczema can develop on the face and the back of the knees. This is one of the best ways to identify the source of the problem. If you have a rash on your face, you can guarantee that it is eczema and not athlete’s foot.

Treatments Are Different

You should also know that there are going to be different treatments for each condition. In some cases, you might be able to use the same creams and ointments, such as Vaseline or Aquaphor to deal with the symptoms of both. However, treating the cause will be different. Since the cause of eczema might not be fully known, it may be difficult or even impossible to get rid of it completely. With athlete’s foot, it is vital to kill the fungi that caused the problem in the first place. It is generally much easier to get rid of athlete’s foot than it is easy to heal eczema.

Those suffering from athlete’s foot will most likely need to take antifungal pills to clear up the condition. With eczema, it will be important to identify the cause first. Then, you will need to treat the cause directly.

Following A Pattern

Athlete’s foot is far more predictable than eczema. With athlete’s foot, you can almost guarantee that it is going to follow a pattern. It will develop between the toes and on the side of the feet. Eczema is less predictable. You just never know where it is going to form or what pattern the rash will take. You might be able to distinguish between the two by looking at the formation of the rash. If the pattern is clearly visible, you are most likely dealing with athlete’s foot. Still, it might be wise to visit a doctor and let them find out for you. They’ll also be able to help you design a treatment plan for the problem.

Clinical Trials

A recent study conducted by the Department of Dermatology, West Ambulatory Care Hospital revealed that probiotics made little to no improvement in eczema symptoms. (2) The study focused on 39 “randomized controlled trials” that involved 2,500 participants. The participants were ages one to 55 and both male and female. All of the participants were diagnosed with eczema, ranging from mild to severe. The treatment periods lasted anywhere from four weeks to six months.

Participants were administered various doses of probiotics or placebos. The participants who received placebos did not see any improvement in their conditions. And, the participants who took probiotics saw little to no improvement in their conditions.

An interesting study published in the NCBI library focused on the prevalence of athlete’s foot and onychomycosis, a nail fungus) in Hong Kong. (3) A total of 1,014 patients, male and female, participated in the study. The results showed that 50.7 percent of the patients participating in the study had athlete’s foot and onychomycosis. More elderly and male patients were affected by athlete’s foot than the female patients.

The researchers concluded that onychomycosis and athlete’s foot were very common in Hong Kong. The researchers encourage physicians practicing in Hong Kong to talk to their patients about the conditions.

Which Do You Have?

Now, it is time to find out which condition you’re suffering from. The truth of the matter is that spotting the differences can be tough. You might not be able to get a definite answer on your own. Therefore, you may want to visit a medical professional to find out which one you’re dealing with. If you’re willing to risk it, you can try diagnosing the problem on your own. There are a few key things to consider when trying to find out which problem you’re dealing with. First and foremost, you should look at the rest of your body.

If the rash is developing on your face, hands, arms or elsewhere, there is a really good chance that it is eczema. If it remains on the feet, there is a greater chance that you’re dealing with athlete’s foot. You should also look at the pattern. If it is formed around the toes and on the sides of the feet, it is probably athlete’s foot. Again, it is generally best to seek out assistance from a medical professional. This is the best way to be positive that you have the right answer. The only way to treat the condition is to make sure that you’re aware of the cause. Therefore, you have to find out what the problem is and go from there.


At the end of the day, there are plenty of similarities between eczema and athlete’s foot. Just remember that there are plenty of differences as well. It can often be difficult to distinguish one from the other. If this is something that you’re trying to do, you may need to visit a doctor. If the condition is present on other parts of the body, you can almost guarantee that you’re dealing with eczema. It is also true that some of the products that treat one will also treat the other. When it comes to eczema vs athletes foot, you should know that neither is better or worse.

Do not delay when it comes to seeking out treatment.

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