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Athletes Foot Treatment & Preventative Measures: We’ve Got Your Feet Covered

The Best Athlete’s Foot Treatments Worth Trying

Virojt Changyencham / Getty

What is Athlete’s Foot? 

Before you can attempt an athlete’s foot cure, you have to know what it is that’s causing you discomfort. Chances are, you’ve had athlete’s foot since this fungal infection afflicts 70 percent of the population at some point in their lives. Formally called tineas pedis, it’s also referred to as "jungle rot" or "ringworm of the foot." It tends to mostly affect men, too.

The itchy, scaly, flaky, and burning effects of this between-the-toes foot fungus are likely due to sweaty socks and tight shoes. If you completed a hardcore workout and strolled around for a few hours with all of that moisture wrapped around your foot, you’re setting yourself up for the perfect environment for fungus to thrive.

Another common way for athlete’s foot to be transferred to your feet is walking around a locker room barefoot. Fungi love a warm, moist environment and that quick shower without shoes could quickly result in this annoying itching ailment.

How to Diagnose Athlete’s Foot? 

Wondering if that annoying burning, itchy feeling in your feet is athlete’s foot? Sure, you can try to self-diagnose and cure it on your own by trying a few over-the-counter athlete’s foot treatments, but you might want to visit your general doctor or a dermatologist for an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor might be able to diagnosis athlete’s foot just by looking at it. He or she may suggest an athlete’s foot cure that starts with OTC medications in the form of antifungal ointment, lotions, powders or sprays. If none of those athlete’s foot remedies work, they might prescribe medication to treat the fungal infection and cure athlete’s foot fast.

How to Treat Athlete’s Foot? 

You’ll see a lot of athlete’s foot creams, sprays, and treatments available at your drugstore, but which is the best treatment for athlete’s foot? Medications are often applied topically and contain the following ingredients to help kill the fungus and alleviate symptoms: terbinafine, naftifine, ifonazole, clotrimazole, miconazole, and oxiconazole. Most OTC athlete’s foot treatments are used for three to six weeks.

Athlete’s foot cream: This foot cream can help soothe itching and burning while helping to cure athlete’s foot. Follow the directions on the cream for frequency and application.

Athlete’s foot spray: Apply the spray topically to stop the growth of the fungus or kill it. This athlete’s foot treatment can also help minimize or eliminate those itching and burning sensations.

Athlete’s foot prescriptions: Your doctor might prescribe an oral tablet medication if the other athlete’s foot treatments aren’t working or the infection spread to your toenails.

Natural Athlete’s Foot Treatments

When you’re seeking a home remedy for athlete’s foot, consider a garlic bath. Yes, you read that right. Soak your feet in a footbath of water and fresh crushed garlic for about 30 minutes. You can also try applying minced garlic and olive oil with a cotton swab. Out of garlic? Other athlete’s foot home remedies involve a vinegar bath using one part vinegar to two parts water. It can help soothe dry, cracked and itchy feet.

Keep applying these natural athlete’s foot treatments for a few weeks after symptoms subside. Nasty fungi tend to lie dormant and can come back if they weren’t completely remedied at first.

How to Prevent Athlete’s Foot

By now you know that changing out of sweaty socks after your workout and always wearing shower shoes at the gym locker room can help minimize risk, but there are other things you can do to prevent foot fungus.

•    Always dry feet well after a shower, patting them with a towel.

•    Don’t share towels with a family member that had athlete’s foot.

•    Sprinkle baking soda on your feet to soak up moisture before putting on socks and shoes.

•    Protect feet around public swimming pools’ decks.

•    Keep your immune system healthy by eating a balanced diet.

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