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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Athlete's Foot - Prevention

You can prevent athlete's foot (tinea pedis) by:

  • Keeping your feet clean and dry.
    • Dry between your toes after swimming or bathing.
    • Wear shoes or sandals that allow your feet to breathe.
    • When indoors, wear socks without shoes.
    • Wear socks to absorb sweat. Change your socks twice a day.
    • Use talcum or antifungal powder on your feet.
    • Allow your shoes to air for at least 24 hours before you wear them again.
  • Wearing shower sandals in public pools and showers.

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.

Tips to prevent athlete's foot recurrence

  • Always finish the full course of any antifungal medicine (cream or pills). Live fungi remain on your skin for days after your symptoms have disappeared. The chances of killing athlete's foot are greatest when you treat it for the prescribed period of time.
  • Washing clothes in soapy, warm water may not kill the fungi that cause athlete's foot. Use hot water and bleach to increase the chance of killing fungi on your clothes.
  • You can help prevent recurrence of a toe web infectioncamera.gif by using powder to keep your feet dry, using lamb's wool between the toes (to separate them), and wearing wider, roomier shoes that have not been infected by fungi. Lamb's wool is available at most pharmacies or foot care stores.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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