Inflammatory tinea pedis/manuum masquerading as bacterial cellulitis

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology

Publication Date


Document Type



Cellulitis; Child; Diagnosis, Differential; Female; Hand Dermatoses; Humans; Hydroxides; Impetigo; Male; Mycology; Potassium Compounds; Tinea; Tinea Pedis


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


BACKGROUND: Tinea pedis and tinea manuum in children are more common than previously recognized. Clinical presentations of dermatophyte infections may vary in children and may be difficult to diagnose. OBJECTIVE: To show the necessity of potassium hydroxide preparations and/or fungal cultures in assessing suspicious cases of cellulitis in children who may have dermatophyte infections. PATIENTS: We describe 4 children with inflammatory tinea pedis or tinea manuum who were initially misdiagnosed as having bacterial cellulitis. INTERVENTION: A potassium hydroxide examination was performed on 3 patients. Fungal cultures were performed on 2 patients. RESULTS: Inflammatory/bullous dermatophyte infections were detected by potassium hydroxide examination in all 4 patients and all 4 children successfully responded to topical antifungal therapy. CONCLUSIONS: These cases demonstrate that inflammatory tinnea pedis/manuum can masquerade as cellulitis in children. Early potassium hydroxide examination can allow appropriate antifungal treatment to be initiated before fungal culture results are finalized.

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Citation: Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002 Nov;156(11):1149-52.

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Archives of pediatrics and adolescent medicine

PubMed ID