They may be small—microscopically small, in fact—but fungi make a worthy adversary. Give them an opening—a barefoot stroll through a gym locker room, perhaps—and they’ll invade your feet and entrench themselves. Athlete’s foot is one particularly common skin infection caused by just such an invader.
Fortunately, most cases of athlete’s foot can be resolved exclusively using home care—no need to call the special podiatric forces. Here’s your battle plan:
- Practice good hygiene, keeping your feet clean and dry. That means washing every day with soap and water, taking care to get between the toes, and drying thoroughly.
- Go to your nearest pharmacy and grab a tube of topical antifungal cream and follow the treatment plan. Common antifungals used for this purpose include tolnaftate (Tinactin), clotrimazole (Lotrimin), miconazole (Micatin), and terbinafine (Lamisil).
- Read that last one again … follow the treatment plan. For example, if it says to apply twice per day for 6 weeks, follow through to the end, even if symptoms resolve sooner. The fungus may still live on your foot even after symptoms clear, and failure to finish the recommended course of treatment often leads to a return of the problem.
- Keep your socks and shoes dry and “starve the beast.” Gravitate toward moisture-wicking fabrics for your socks and breathable shoes. It’s best if you have at least two pairs of everyday shoes and give each at least a full day to dry out between uses.
If athlete’s foot persists despite your best efforts, you may have a particularly stubborn fungus—or it may be caused by something else entirely, like a bacterial infection. In these cases, visit Keith McSpadden, DPM at North Austin Foot & Ankle Institute for the heavy artillery. We can prescribe stronger topical or oral antifungals to help you knock out even the most implacable fungal foe, or get you on antibiotics or other treatments if the cause is bacterial. To set up an appointment with us, contact us online or call 512-593-2949.