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Understanding Athlete's Foot -- Treatment

What Are the Treatments for Athlete's Foot?

Treat 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.

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.
  • Take your shoes off when you go home and let your feet get exposed to the air.

 

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Debra Jaliman, MD on March 13, 2015

Sources

SOURCES:

National Institutes of Health.

The Mayo Clinic.

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