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How to Treat Athletes Foot: Important Tips to Remember

How to Treat Athletes Foot: Important Tips to Remember

Athlete’s foot is one of the most common types of fungal infection. And because it’s such a common condition, knowing how to treat athlete’s foot is very important.

Athlete’s foot itself might not be life-threatening, but it can cause a lot of discomfort, and even pain if left untreated. Read on to find out what this condition is, and the steps you can take to treat athlete’s foot.

how to treat athletes foot

What is Athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a type of fungal infection that affects a person’s feet. In particular, it usually appears in between the toes.

It can be caused by the fungi:

  • Trichophyton rubrum
  • Trichophyton interdigitale
  • Epidermophyton floccosum

It’s most common among people who have sweaty feet and wear closed shoes for long periods of time.

Athlete’s foot is also related to other conditions such as jock itch or ringworm. And like those conditions, Athlete’s foot is also contagious.

What this means is that if a person with athlete’s foot can spread the fungus if they share towels or share shoes with other people. It can also contaminate the floor if a person with athlete’s foot walks on it with their bare feet.

Treating athlete’s foot is important because it can also help prevent the fungus from spreading to other people.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of athlete’s foot are easy to detect. Here are some symptoms to watch out for:

  • White patches in between your toes that feel itchy
  • Sore, red patches on your feet
  • Skin can sometimes crack and bleed, especially in between the toes
  • Another sign of athlete’s foot is that it appears as a red scaly rash
  • Some forms of athlete’s foot can cause blisters or ulcers on the skin
  • The skin on the feet can also flake off or peel away because of athlete’s foot
  • The fourth and fifth toes are usually affected by athlete’s foot
  • Athlete’s foot can also spread to the hands if a person scratches or picks at their feet

Athlete’s foot can be a very painful condition, and it can cause nail and other skin infections. It can also spread to other parts of the body if not treated.

5 Common Skin Infections and How to Manage Them

How Do You Get Infected with Athlete’s Foot?

Here are some possible ways that people can get infected with athlete’s foot:

  • When they share shoes, socks, or slippers with people who have athlete’s foot
  • Walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces can also cause infection
  • Damp socks and wearing shoes for long periods of time can also cause infection
  • For some reason, athlete’s foot is also more common among men

How to Treat Athlete’s Foot

If you get infected by athlete’s foot, you need to follow these tips:

Keep your feet dry as much as possible

The fungi that cause athlete’s foot grows in dark, damp places. In order to stop it from spreading and growing further, it would be a good idea to try and keep your feet dry as much as possible.

This means that if your feet get wet because of sweat, you need to dry them and change your socks. Ideally, you should also wear dry shoes to avoid the inside of your shoes getting damp.

That way, you can help inhibit the growth of fungi on your feet.

Wear slippers or flip flops at home

Wearing slippers or flip flops helps air out your feet, and stops the growth of bacteria. It’s also a good idea to wear slippers at home instead of being barefoot in order to prevent the fungi from spreading.

Over-the-counter medication can help treat athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot can easily be treated through the use of anti-fungal medicine. There are creams and powders available in drugstores that help kill off the fungi in your feet. In some cases, your doctor might prescribe you specific anti-fungal medicine to help treat your condition.

But usually, over-the-counter medicine can treat athlete’s foot without any problem.

However, remember, fungal infections usually take a longer time to treat compared to infections that have bacterial causes. Taking these over the counter medications should be used under the guidance of a health professional.

How Can You Prevent Athlete’s Foot?

Here are some effective ways to prevent athlete’s foot from happening in the first place:

Alternate the shoes you wear

Alternating your shoes helps them air out, and prevents the inside from getting damp. This is especially important if you wear shoes the entire day, or if you tend to have sweaty feet.

Be sure to wear shoes that are light and well-ventilated

Try to avoid shoes that are tight, or made with synthetic materials. These types of materials and build quality don’t allow your feet to breathe, and can trap moisture, which makes your shoes a breeding ground for fungi.

If you get sweaty feet, foot powder can sometimes help

If your feet are particularly sweaty, there are specialized types of foot powder that can help prevent your feet from sweating too much. These help keep your feet dry and can prevent the growth of fungi.

Be sure to change your socks if they get damp

Not only are damp socks uncomfortable, they are also a breeding ground for fungi. If your feet tend to get damp easily, try bringing a change of socks with you.

This helps prevent your feet from getting too damp and inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi.

There are also some types of socks that have anti-fungal properties. It might be a good idea to use these socks instead to ensure that there won’t be any fungal growth on your feet.

Learn more about Skin Health here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


How to prevent athlete’s foot, https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/athletes-foot-prevent, Accessed September 09, 2020

Athlete’s foot – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/athletes-foot/symptoms-causes/syc-20353841#:~:text=Athlete’s%20foot%20(tinea%20pedis)%20is,causes%20itching%2C%20stinging%20and%20burning., Accessed September 09, 2020

Athlete’s foot – Diagnosis and treatment – Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/athletes-foot/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353847, Accessed September 09, 2020

Athlete’s foot – NHS, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/athletes-foot/, Accessed September 09, 2020

Athlete’s foot | DermNet NZ, https://dermnetnz.org/topics/athletes-foot/, Accessed September 09, 2020

Athlete’s Foot | Tinea Pedis | MedlinePlus, https://medlineplus.gov/athletesfoot.html, Accessed September 09, 2020

Athlete’s Foot, https://myhealth.alberta.ca/Health/Pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=hw28392&lang=en-ca, Accessed September 09, 2020

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Written by Jan Alwyn Batara Updated Feb 14
Medically reviewed by Mia Dacumos, M.D.