Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Skin Problems & Treatments Health Center

Font Size

Understanding Athlete's Foot -- Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Athlete's Foot?

Picture of Athlete's FootTreat athlete's foot at the first sign of itchiness.

Most cases of athlete's foot can be cured with over-the-counter antifungal products and basic good hygiene. Wash and dry your feet (including between the toes) every morning and evening, change socks or stockings daily, and don't wear the same shoes day after day to allow them time to dry completely before wearing them again. Sprinkle antifungal powder on feet and in your shoes daily. Antifungal creams and sprays are also effective at managing the infection. Continue treatment for one to two weeks after the infection has cleared to prevent it from recurring.

Understanding Athlete's Foot

Find out more about athlete's foot:

Basics

Symptoms

Treatment

Make sure your feet get plenty of air. If you can't go barefoot or wear sandals, wear cotton socks and shoes made of a natural, porous material such as canvas. Don't wear water-resistant synthetics.

If not treated properly and promptly, athlete's foot can be very stubborn. Even when treated with antifungal drugs, the infection may take several weeks to disappear and may come back after treatment.

Most of the time it responds well to these over-the-counter interventions. However, more severe cases may need to be seen by a doctor.

Home Remedies for Athlete's Foot

If you have athlete's foot, try using an over-the-counter antifungal powder, cream, or spray. There are many types to choose from. They are equally effective if used properly. Do not tear or scrape off flaking skin; you may break nearby healthy skin and spread the infection.

How Can I Prevent Athlete's Foot?

Don't go barefoot in public areas such as the pool or gym where many others are also barefoot. Cut your risk by keeping your feet clean, dry, and powdered with an over-the-counter antifungal foot powder. Other sensible steps:

  • Wear cotton socks, and shoes that breathe; shoes that keep water out also keep sweat in.
  • Never share shoes, socks, or towels.
  • If you get athlete's foot, wash your socks and towels in the hottest water possible.
  • Be doubly cautious if you take an antibiotic. The medication can kill beneficial bacteria that normally control the fungus that causes athlete's foot.

 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on April 17, 2014

Today on WebMD

chafing
Pictures and symptoms of the red, scaly rash.
woman with dyed dark hair
What it says about your health.
 
woman with cleaning products
Top causes of the itch that rashes.
atopic dermatitus
Identify and treat common skin problems.
 
itchy skin
Article
shingles rash on skin
Article
 
woman with skin tag
Quiz
Woman washing face
Video
 
woman washing her hair in sink
Video
close up of womans bare neck
Tools
 
Feet
Slideshow
woman with face cream
Quiz