What Is The Best Cure For Athletes Foot
Its important to finish your full course of medicine. If you stop too soon, your athletes foot may come back and be harder to treat.
What Medications Are Available For Athlete’s Foot
Creams, gels and sprays for fungal infections are available from pharmacies without a prescription. All of these products contain a drug that stops the growth of the fungus or kills it.
Many of the more commonly used products contain drugs known as allylamines or azoles.
- The allylamines include terbinafine and naftifine.
- The azoles include bifonazole, clotrimazole, miconazole and oxiconazole.
Conventional Treatments For Athletes Foot Infections
Most of the time athletes foot isnt very serious. You can treat it at home by applying certain creams for several weeks. Mild athletes foot is usually treated with antifungal creams. These creams are available from most drug stores or pharmacies, including over-the-counter brands. Types and brands of creams include Clotrimazole or Rexall, usually labeled as 1 percent.
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You Moisturize Your Feet
Many people confuse dry, cracked skin for athlete’s foot. “Athlete’s foot commonly looks like scaling on the bottom of the feet and can easily be mistaken for dry skin,” Dr. Lobkova says.
But here’s the thing: Fungus feeds off moist environments, so moisturizing your feet will further worsen athlete’s foot and prevent it from healing, she says.
Lose the lotion and opt for over-the-counter fungal creams to effectively treat athleteâs foot, Dr. Lobkova says. And if youâre having difficulty distinguishing dry patches from fungal-based scaling on your feet, see a podiatrist who can properly assess and diagnose your issue.
When To See A Doctor
If you’ve tried the above home remedies for a few days and your symptoms continue to worsen, it’s time to see a doctor, Galante says. That’s because the infection could become chronic or spread to other areas of the foot.
“Once becomes a chronic issue in the skin, not only is it harder to treat, but that’s how most of our toenail fungal infections happen,” Galante says. Toenail infections are more difficult to treat, he says.
The American Podiatric Medical Association recommends visiting a podiatrist or primary care provider if the infection doesn’t improve after two weeks of proper foot hygiene.
Additionally, if you have itching, redness, blistering, oozing, or odor, see a doctor, Sherman says. “Odor is a pretty good indicator of ‘Hey, something’s not right.'” These symptoms indicate the infection is too serious to be treated at home.
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Prevalence Of Tinea Pedis
The reported prevalence of tinea pedis is dependent on the sampling group chosen, but it is thought to be the most common fungal pathogen.1 In one survey, it was found to affect as many as one-quarter of those visiting a dermatology clinic for reasons unrelated to fungi, and it has been reported to be present in 70% of adults.2,3 Many patients do not know that they suffer from the condition, perhaps attributing their symptoms to other causes .
Manifestations Of Tinea Pedis
When pharmacists field questions about possible tinea pedis, it is critical to be aware of the conditions visible signs and symptoms in order to fully and capably assist the patient. With the patients consent, the pharmacist may be able to view the foot and ankle, facilitating recognition of the condition.
Tinea pedis most often begins on the small toe, or in the groove between the fourth and fifth toes, so these areas should be examined first.3 The reason for this geographic predilection is that the fifth toe is most likely of all to be overcrowded in tight shoes or sneakers, and its continued close proximity to the fourth toe does not allow the interdigital toe web to dry as thoroughly as other surfaces of the foot. Moisture accumulation and maceration present ideal conditions for growth of the organisms following implantation. From that common starting point, tinea pedis is able to branch out and assume several forms.
The most common category is known as interdigital tinea pedis.3,9 In this type, the skin between the patients toes begins to itch and break down. Fissures develop, with accompanying maceration to the point of a boggy appearance, increased whitening and thickening, intense pruritus and burning, and the development of a foul odor due to bacterial overgrowth in the open wounds.3,10
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How Does This Condition Affect My Body
Athletes foot commonly affects the skin between your toes. Your skin may change color, crack, peel and flake. Your skin may also turn a lighter color and become thicker and swollen.
Athletes foot can spread across the bottom of your foot or feet. This is moccasin athletes foot. In feet with moccasin athletes foot, the skin on the bottoms, heels and edges of your feet are dry, itchy and scaly.
In severe cases of athletes foot, you may develop fluid-filled blisters or open sores. Blisters often appear on the bottoms of your feet, but they may develop anywhere on them. Open sores often appear between your toes, but they may also appear on the bottoms of your feet. Your feet might also smell bad, too.
Consider A Tea Foot Bath
Soaking your feet in tea may also ease symptoms of athlete’s foot.
A small 2013 clinical trial found that 12 weeks of foot baths containing green tea polyphenols micronutrients found in plant-based foods improved symptoms of athlete’s foot in elderly patients compared to a placebo.
Black tea may also alleviate symptoms of athlete’s foot, particularly the odor, due to the presence of a specific type of polyphenol called tannins.
“The tannins that are in black tea help with that foot odor,” says Galante.
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How Do I Prevent Athletes Foot In Future
There are a few simple steps you can take to lower your risk of getting athletes foot. The most important measure you can take is to keep your feet clean and dry, especially after spending time in public changing rooms, pools or showers. You can also try using , which can help to prevent reinfection if regularly sprayed on the feet, shoes and/or socks.
How Can I Reduce My Risk
There are many ways to reduce your risk of getting athletes foot:
- Thoroughly wash your feet and the skin between your toes with antibacterial soap.
- Dry your feet and the spaces between your toes after swimming or bathing.
- Apply talcum powder or antifungal powder to your feet to absorb moisture.
- Put on your socks before your underwear to prevent the fungus from spreading to your groin.
- Wear shoes or sandals that allow your feet to get air.
- Avoid wearing rubber or synthetic shoes for long periods.
- Allow your shoes to dry out for at least 24 hours between uses.
- Clean your shoes with disinfecting sprays or wipes.
- Wear cotton or wool socks that absorb moisture or socks made out of synthetic materials that wick away moisture.
- Wear sandals or flip-flops in communal locker rooms, pools, saunas or showers.
- Wash your socks, towels and bedding in hot water.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Athletes Foot
Your symptoms depend on the type of athletes foot that you have.
- Toe web infection: A toe web infection is the most common type of athletes foot. It typically affects the skin between your fourth toe and fifth toe . Your skin may change color, crack, peel or flake.
- Moccasin-type infection: A moccasin-type infection affects the bottoms of your feet, your heels and the edges of your feet. Your feet may be sore for a few days. Then, the skin on the bottom of your feet thickens and cracks. In rare cases, your toenails may get infected. They can thicken, break into small pieces and fall out.
- Vesicular-type infection: A vesicular-type infection typically affects the bottom of your feet, but it may appear anywhere on them. A vesicular-type infection features bumps or fluid-filled blisters .
- Ulcerative infection: An ulcerative infection is the rarest type of athletes foot. Open sores often appear between your toes. Open sores may also appear on the bottom of your feet.
How Do I Avoid Athlete’s Foot
- Keep your feet clean and dry. The athlete’s foot fungus loves warm and moist conditions.
- Avoid sharing towels and communal bathing.
- Wash socks and shoes regularly, wear flip flops or sandals where possible.
- Use antifungal sprays to beat stubborn cases.
If persistent or if you feel unwell, seek medical advice.
The following tips may prevent athlete’s foot recurring:
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Hair Dryer And Talcum Powder
If fungi do not have an ideal environment to live in, they cannot continue to grow and thrive. Getting rid of moisture from the feet, especially between the toes, can help keep the fungus from spreading and getting worse.
People can remove moisture from their feet by thoroughly drying them with a hair dryer after bathing, making sure that no moisture remains but being careful not to burn the skin. People with loss of sensation or feeling in the feet should not use this method.
When the feet are dry, follow up by sprinkling them with talcum powder to help absorb sweat. Many foot powders contain talc and help keep the feet dry.
In addition to these steps, wearing socks that absorbs moisture away from the skin can help keep the feet dry. The following types of socks can help keep feet dry throughout the day:
- synthetic wicking fabric, often called tech socks
Changing socks at least once a day when feet feel sweaty or damp is also helpful. Or, in warmer weather, wear open shoes or sandals to increase airflow to the feet.
Think You Have Athletes Foot Heres How To Treat It And Avoid More Serious Problems
Perhaps the skin in between your toes is itchy. Or the skin on the sides of your feet is flaking and irritated.
These are classic signs of athletes foot. Doctors call it tinea pedis and its a common fungal infection, affecting 15 to 25 percent of people at any one time.
Its flaky dead skin overlying redness, says Adam Friedman, a dermatologist at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Skin between the toes may look white and soggy, the soles of the foot are more likely to be dry and flaky, and reddening and blistering can appear anywhere.
Still it might be something else psoriasis and eczema can look a lot like athletes foot.
So how can you be sure you have athletes foot? Do you need to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment?
Most people want to treat athletes foot, says Shari Lipner, a dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. Even when the itching and burning symptoms are very mild, the condition is unsightly. Also, the fungus can invade the nail and nail fungus is much harder to treat, Lipner says.
But you dont necessarily need to see a doctor. Its okay to try an over-the-counter product on your own. Look for those that contain an antifungal medication such as terbinafine , clotrimazole , tolnaftate , miconazole , or undecylenic acid . Other products, such as those containing tea tree oil or natural salts, have little evidence to back their use, Lipner says.
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Causes Of Athlete’s Foot
You can catch athlete’s foot from other people with the infection.
You can get it by:
- walking barefoot in places where someone else has athlete’s foot especially changing rooms and showers
- touching the affected skin of someone with athlete’s foot
You’re more likely to get it if you have wet or sweaty feet, or if the skin on your feet is damaged.
Treatments For Athlete’s Foot
The most crucial part of treating an athlete’s foot infection is to cure it completely. That’s because even with medical attention, the fungus can come back if your feet are exposed to the same conditions that caused it. For this reason, some people have recurring problems with athlete’s foot.
To treat athlete’s foot fast and stop it from returning, your doctor will recommend you take preventative measures. Follow these rules of thumb to aid in treatment and avoid getting it again:
- Make sure to thoroughly wash your feet daily.
- Always put on clean, cotton socks after your shower or bath for breathability and sweat absorption.
- Wear sandals at public facilities like locker rooms, pools, and gyms to prevent your feet from coming into contact with fungi.
In addition to these hygienic measures, your doctor will also recommend using an anti-fungal cream to treat the infection. If your case of athlete’s foot is mild, they’ll recommend an over-the-counter spray, powder, ointment, or cream. The active ingredients in many of these options are drugs known as allylamines or azoles.
These are two groups that encompass different types of anti-fungal medications:
- Allylamines include naftifine and terbinafine.
- Azoles include bifonazole, clotrimazole, miconazole and oxiconazole.
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Time To See A Podiatrist
If you have tried over-the-counter antifungal products such as cream, spray, powder, or ointment and your athletes foot is not improving after two weeks, consult with a podiatrist. Athletes foot should not be left untreated since the infection can spread to other areas of the body.
Those with a condition such as diabetes or poor circulation should consult with their doctor at first signs of an infection. These conditions put you at a higher risk of developing a severe bacterial infection of the leg or foot and can lead to further complications.
A podiatrist will examine your feet to diagnose athletes foot and determine if the infection has spread. In addition to an examination, a skin sample test may be done to rule out other causes of the infection. If at-home treatment has not worked, your podiatrist may prescribe an oral antifungal medication or a stronger cream, spray, ointment, or powder. A prescription medication will attack the fungus and prevent it from spreading. Your podiatrist will recommend treatment based on your personal case and needs.
Depending on your specific case, athletes foot typically can clear up in two to four weeks. To prevent reinfection, you will need to take the prescription as long as it was prescribed by your doctor even if the athletes foot has cleared up.
Possible Complications And Side Effects
Athlete’s foot is highly contagious, not only between people but between body parts. It can spread to your hands, especially if you have scratched or picked at the rash. It can also can spread to toenails and the groin, which is known as Jock Itch.
It’s also possible to experience side effects from the anti-fungal medication. For instance, common Clotrimazole topical creams can cause negative skin reactions like itching, swelling, blistering, and peeling.
In terms of oral medication, terbinafine can cause certain side effects too. Some common ones include:
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How To Treat Ringworm On The Feet
If you think you may have ringworm, its a good idea to first see a doctor so they can rule out other skin conditions that may have similar symptoms.
Your doctor may be able to diagnose ringworm after a visual examination of your feet. They may also scrape off a small section of the infection to send to a laboratory for confirmation.
Ringworm isnt serious, but it can be persistent. With proper treatment, it usually goes away within about 2 weeks. The most common treatment option is an over-the-counter fungal cream, spray, gel, or powder.
If your ringworm doesnt respond to an OTC treatment option, your doctor might recommend a prescription medication.
Precautions When Treating Athletes Foot Or Other Fungal Infections
Most of the essential oils described above are classified as Generally Recognized as Safe . Allergic reactions or other sensitivities are still possible. This is especially true if you have sensitive skin or are experiencing changes in hormone levels or your immune system.
Use a small amount if its your first time applying essential oil treatments to your skin. This way you can test the effects and monitor for side effects. If youre pregnant or breast-feeding, be extra careful. Keep in mind essential oils and other fungal treatments can pass through the skin and get into your bloodstream. Use precaution. Its best not to use essential oils on your skin without doing some research first. Ask your doctor if youre ever unsure.
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Shoes And Socks What To Do To Prevent Athletes Foot Spreading
- One pair of socks per activity or per day this means frequent sock changing and washing. Never continue to wear the same socks you did for training for the rest of the day. They will be damp and this is a breeding ground for fungi which like it warm and damp.
- Wash socks at 60 degrees C option to add anti-fungal aromatherapy to the wash. Consider using a biological powder one of the only times that I will say this.
- Switch around your shoes daily to allow shoes to completely dry in between wears.
- Wash your shoes often again at 60 degrees C. Sprinkle them with baking powder or baking powder mixed with anti-fungal aromatherapy oils in between wears if you prefer. Keep them dry in between wears, dry in a shoe dryer or in a warm dry place.
- If you suspect a pair of shoes as a continual source of reinfection you may need to bin them.
- Wear cotton socks.
- Leave your feet breathe as often as possible wear flip flops around the house and/ or place tissue between your toes to keep them separate and dry.
- Dont walk around bare foot.
- Avoid swimming pools until you have cured your infection.
- Start wearing flip-flops at the pool and public changing rooms and showers if you have not already done so.
- Wear shoes or flip-flops or old hotel flip-flops right until the very end before your triathlon swim start to prevent catching infection from others feet.