You can usually treat
athlete's foot (tinea pedis) yourself at home by using
nonprescription medicines and taking care of your feet. But if you have
diabetes and develop athlete's foot, or have
persistent, severe, or recurrent infections, see your doctor.
Nonprescription antifungals include terbinafine (Lamisil AT), miconazole (Micatin),
clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF), and tolnaftate (Tinactin). These medicines are
creams, lotions, solutions, gels, sprays, ointments, swabs, or powders that are
applied to the skin (topical medicine). Treatment will last from 1 to 6
If you have a vesicular (blister) infection, soak your foot
Burow's solution several times a day for 3 or more
days until the blister fluid is gone. After the fluid is gone, use an
antifungal cream as directed. You can also apply compresses using Burow's
To prevent athlete's foot from returning, use the full
course of all medicine as directed, even after symptoms have gone away.
Avoid using hydrocortisone cream on a fungal infection, unless your
doctor prescribes it.
Good foot care helps treat and prevent
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Dry between your toes after swimming or
- Wear leather shoes or sandals that allow your feet to
- When indoors, wear socks without shoes.
cotton socks to absorb sweat. Change your socks twice a day. (White socks do
not prevent athlete's foot, as some people believe.)
- Use talcum or
antifungal powder on your feet.
- Allow your shoes to air for at
least 24 hours before you wear them again.
- Wear shower sandals in public pools and
If you have athlete's foot, dry your groin area before
your feet after bathing. Also, put on your socks before your underwear. This
can prevent fungi from spreading from your feet to your groin, which may cause
jock itch. For more information about jock itch, see the topic
Ringworm of the Skin.
You may choose not to treat athlete's foot if your
symptoms don't bother you and you have no health problems that increase your
risk of severe foot infection, such as
diabetes. But an untreated athlete's foot infection
causing skinblisters or cracks can lead to severe bacterial infection. Also,
if you don't treat athlete's foot infection, you can spread it to other