Athlete’s foot is a very common infection, one that affects millions of feet. Although it might not be a life-threating condition, there are plenty of reasons to want to get rid of it quickly—it’s itchy, it’s ugly, it can spread easily to your family members and friends. Also, the fungus which causes it can be transferred to other parts of your body, like your toenails.
So, you want to stop it quickly. Here are the three best ways to do just that.
Treating Athlete's Foot
- Over-the-Counter Antifungal Creams. The good news is that most cases of athlete’s foot can be cured at home, with application of topical antifungals such as clotrimazole (Lotrimin), terbinafine (Lamisil), tolnaftate (Tinactin), and others. Just remember not to deviate from the treatment course on the package! If the instructions say twice daily for four weeks, see it through to the end—even if symptoms clear up earlier. The skin rash might be gone, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the fungus has been fully eradicated.
- Prescription Antifungals. If off-the-shelf treatments aren’t cutting it—or if athlete’s foot keeps returning—we can prescribe something a bit stronger. Usually these are topical medications as well, although severe cases may require antifungal pills taken orally.
- Don’t Get Athlete’s Foot in the First Place! Okay, this one is a bit of a cop-out. But prevention really is the best treatment, especially if you’ve struggled with cases of athlete’s foot in the past.
Good Athlete's Foot Prevention Strategies Include
- Keep up with foot hygiene—wash and dry thoroughly at least daily
- Put on clean socks every day, and change them more often if you sweat a lot
- Give each pair of shoes at least 24 hours to dry out between uses
- Use antifungal powder on feet and/or in shoes, especially if you have a history of athlete’s foot
- Don’t go barefoot in public or shared spaces like locker rooms or gyms