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Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Athlete's Foot - Treatment Overview

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Vesicular infections continued...

Even when treated, athlete's foot often returns. This is likely to happen if:

  • You don't take preventive measures and are again exposed to the fungi that cause athlete's foot.
  • You don't use antifungal medicine for the specified length of time and the fungi are not completely killed.
  • The fungi are not completely killed even after the full course of medicine.

You can prevent athlete's foot 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.

What to think about

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 chance of severe foot infection, such as diabetes. But untreated athlete's foot that causes skin blisters or cracks can lead to severe bacterial infection. Also, if you don't treat athlete's foot, you can spread it to other people.

Severe infections that appear suddenly (acute) usually respond well to treatment. Long-lasting (chronic) infections can be more difficult to cure.

Toenail infections (onychomycosis) that can develop with athlete's foot tend to be more difficult to cure than fungal skin infections. For more information, see the topic Fungal Nail Infections.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
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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