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.

DOI of Published Version



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

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Archives of pediatrics and adolescent medicine

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

PubMed ID