Over-the-counter antifungal powders or creams can help control the infection. These generally contain miconazole, clotrimazole, or tolnaftate. Keep using the medicine for 1 - 2 weeks after the infection has cleared to prevent the infection from returning.
Keep your feet clean and dry, especially between your toes.
Wash your feet thoroughly with soap and water and dry the area very carefully and completely. Try to do this at least twice a day.
Wear clean, cotton socks and change your socks and shoes as often as necessary to keep your feet dry.
Athlete's foot almost always responds well to self-care, although it may come back.
If athlete's foot does not get better in 2-4 weeks with self-care, or frequently returns, see your health care provider. The health care provider may prescribe stronger antifungal medications, such as ketoconazole or terbinafine. Antibiotics may be necessary to treat bacterial infections that occur from scratching.
Athlete's foot infections range from mild to severe and may last a short or long time. They may persist or recur, but they generally respond well to treatment. Long-term medication and preventive measures may be needed.
Your foot is swollen and warm to the touch, especially if there are red streaks. These are signs of a possible bacterial infection. Other signs include pus, drainage, and fever.
You have diabetes or a weakened immune system and develop athlete's foot.
Also call your doctor if athlete's foot symptoms do not go away within 2- 4 weeks of self-care treatments.
To prevent athlete's foot, follow these measures:
Dry your feet thoroughly after bathing or swimming.
Wear sandals or flip-flops at a public shower or pool.
Change your socks often to keep your feet dry. This should be done at least once a day.
Use antifungal or drying powders to prevent athlete's foot if you are susceptible to getting it, or you frequent areas where athlete's foot fungus is common (like public showers).
Wear shoes that are well ventilated and, preferably, made of natural material such as leather. It may help to alternate shoes each day, so they can dry completely between wearings. Avoid plastic-lined shoes.
Kevin Berman, MD, PhD, Associate, Atlanta Center for Dermatologic Disease, Atlanta, GA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.