Athlete's Foot - Treatment

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What is the treatment for athlete's foot?

The treatment of athlete's foot can be divided into two parts. The first, and most important part, is to make the infected area less suitable for the athlete's foot fungus to grow. This means keeping the area clean and dry.

Buy shoes that are leather or another breathable material. Occlusive shoe materials, such as vinyl, cause the feet to remain moist, providing an excellent area for the fungus to breed. Likewise, absorbent socks like cotton that wick water away from your feet may help.

Powders, especially medicated powders (such as with miconazole [Lotrimin] or tolnaftate [Tinactin]), can help keep your feet dry. Finally, your feet can be soaked in a drying solution of aluminum acetate (Burow's solution or Domeboro solution). A homemade remedy of dilute white vinegar soaks using one part vinegar and roughly four parts water, once or twice a day as 10-minute foot soaks may aid in treatment.

The second part of treatment is the use of antifungal creams and washes. Many medications are available, including miconazole, econazole nitrate (Spectazole), clotrimazole (Lotrimin), terbinafine (Lamisil) sprays and creams, and ketoconazole shampoo and cream (Nizoral), etc. Ask your health-care professional or pharmacist for a recommendation. Treatment for athlete's foot should generally be continued for four weeks or at least one week after all of the skin symptoms have cleared.

More advanced or resistant cases of athlete's foot may require a two- to three-week course of an oral (pill) antifungal like terbinafine (Lamisil), itraconazole (Sporanox), or fluconazole (Diflucan). Laboratory blood tests to make sure there is no liver disease may be required before taking these pills.

  • Terbinafine: 250 mg once a day for two weeks
  • Itraconazole: 100 mg twice a day for two weeks
  • Fluconazole: 100 mg once weekly for two to three weeks

Topical corticosteroid creams can act as a fertilizer for fungus and may actually worsen fungal skin infections. These topical steroid medications have no role in treating fungal foot infections.

If the fungal infection has spread to the toenails, the nails must also be treated to avoid reinfection of the feet. Often, the nails are initially ignored only to find the athlete's foot keeps recurring. It is important to treat all the visible fungus at the same time. Effective nail fungus treatment may be more intensive and require prolonged courses (three to four months) of oral antifungal medications.

Return to Athlete's Foot

See what others are saying

Comment from: Fundementals, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: February 15

I have a small amount of athlete's foot infection between my 4th and 5th toe on my left foot. I tried Lamisil as instructed using it over a week and then stopping. My infection returned a week later. With my foot itching and no Lamisil with me, I tried using Peroxyl mouthwash, putting a finger under my toes to form a bowl and pouring the liquid into the gap. Peroxyl is a 1 percent hydrogen peroxide solution, it is used for disinfecting wounds. Works a treat, two days/applications later the angry red area has gone. Interestingly, during the second application, the peroxide bubbled less, suggesting something in the fungus was being consumed by it. I am not affiliated with Colgate the manufacturers, just glad to have found a way to get rid of it.

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Comment from: roy, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: March 28

The cure for my athlete's foot was 91 percent isopropyl alcohol 32 oz. and Equate povidone-iodine 8 oz. (or the more expensive Betadine). I bought a foot shaped Rubbermaid take along and mixed both bottles and soaked each foot for 1/2 hour every day. (Sometimes I microwave the solution for 30 seconds in the microwave to take the chill off.) The sores between my toes disappeared in a week. Now I just do maintenance once a week or whenever I feel something down there.

Was this comment helpful?Yes

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