Tips to Stop Athlete’s Foot in Its Tracks

Tips to Stop Athlete’s Foot in Its Tracks

Athlete’s foot is a fungal toenail infection and it’s very common. Exposing yourself to the fungus can cause you to easily contract it. Many people may get athlete’s foot when they are going barefoot in moist, warm areas such as locker rooms.

Symptoms of athlete’s foot can vary. They can be mild, moderate or severe, depending on every patient. In most cases, however, the main symptoms include:

  • A scaly red rash between the toes
  • Itching worse after you take off shoes and socks
  • Dryness, scaling and peeling on the soles and side of the foot
  • Blisters or ulcers on the foot

The infection only affects the feet, but it can spread to your hand if you scratch or touch the affected area. Here are some tips to follow when you suspect athlete’s foot.  

See a dermatologist to pinpoint the problem

If you think you have athlete’s foot, first see your dermatologist. He or she can recommend some tests to identify the problem. These tests may include:

  • A skin test
  • A skin lesion potassium hydroxide exam
  • A skin lesion biopsy
  • A fungal culture or skin culture

A skin test is used when doctors aren’t sure whether you have a fungal infection. Skin lesion KOH exam is a specific test for fungal lesions. In this test, doctors scrape a dead skin over the lesion, place it in a KOH solution and examine it under the microscope. Skin lesion biopsy is a simple test for athlete’s foot. Doctors usually remove a small bit of the affected skin and test it in a laboratory. A fungal culture test is used to identify the specific fungi in the affected skin. Doctors also use this test to detect the cause of the infection or determine if a treatment is working.

Athlete’s foot does not usually go away on its own. So, for safety’s sake, you need to confirm the causes and risk factors behind the condition. Several lifestyle habits can put you at an increased risk of getting athlete’s foot. These are:

  • walking barefoot in public places where fungi thrive
  • wearing damp socks, or tight closed-toe shoes
  • sharing towels, socks and shoes with an infected person
  • keeping your feet hot, wet or sweaty for long periods of time
  • having minor nail or skin injuries on the feet
  • having a weakened immune system
  • having diabetes, eczema or another fungal infection

In many cases, athlete’s foot is mistaken for dry skin, eczema, and a bacterial infection. So it’s very important to see a dermatologist.

How to diagnose athlete's foot

Learn more: Poor Personal Hygiene Linked to Fungal Nail Infections

Doctors offer you the best treatments

Right now, the best treatment for athlete’s foot is an oral antifungal pill prescribed by a doctor. You must take it every day for 2 to 3 months. However, it is not recommended for everyone. Oral antifungal medications can cause some side effects. For instance, they can interact with other medications you’re taking. Or, they can affect the liver and cause liver damage. So if you have a weak immune systems or a liver disease, you shouldn’t use these medications. 

Some common prescription medications for athlete’s foot include:

  • Micatin (miconazole)
  • Lotrimin (clotrimazole)
  • Lamisil (terbinafine)
  • Tinactin (tolnaftate)
  • Mentax (butenafine)

Doctors suggest that you use a prescription if:

  • your infection doesn’t respond to other treatments
  • your infection goes away but comes back often
  • your infection spreads to other areas of your body, such as groin, hands and nails

oral antifungal medications for athlete's foot

Over-the-counter cream can give you relief

If your athlete’s foot is mild, you should use an over-the-counter antifungal cream. This treatment is quite cheap and can help you get relief more quickly. Fugacil is one of the most common creams for athlete’s foot in the market right now. It is made with antifungal nanoparticles and natural oils such as:

  • Tea tree
  • Thyme
  • Lavender
  • Astragalus
  • Melissa geranium

Many patients have used this cream and noticed improvement in 1 to 2 weeks. In reality, Fugacil can offer some benefits listed below:

  • Targets fungus both on the surface and lower layers of the skin
  • Eliminates fungus within hours of treatment
  • Rapidly relieves pain, itching and other symptoms
  • Speeds up healing and recovery
  • Softens unsightly scabs
  • Helps prevent recurrent infections

You can also use antifungal sprays or powders to manage the infection. They can help keep your foot dry and prevent fungal growth.

Tea tree oil for athlete's foot

Learn more: Top 7 Home Remedies for Fungal Infections

Take time to take care of your feet

Fungus is everywhere and you can contract it at any time. Even after the treatment, fungus can return and spread to other areas of the body. Following are some tips to stop athlete’s foot in its tracks.

  • Wash your feet daily and keep them dry
  • Trim your toenails correctly
  • Moisturize your dry, cracked feet with lotions
  • Wear light and well-ventilated shoes
  • Change your socks and shoes regularly
  • Don’t share towels, socks and shoes with others
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas
  • Sprinkle some antifungal powder inside your socks and shoes
  • Use your essential oils like tea tree oil, coconut oil and Neem oil

use antifungal powder for feet

Learn more: The Color of Your Nails Could Say about Health

The dangers of not treating athlete’s foot

The greatest danger of ignoring athlete’s foot is that it can spread to other areas of the body, such as the nails, hands and groin.

If for some reason, you cannot treat your athlete’s foot, at least put some antifungal topical cream on it. This can help you to stop fungus in its tracks and keep the skin intact. In some cases, athlete’s foot spreads and causes the problems:

  • Fungal nail infection (onychomycosis)
  • Ringworm of the groin (jock itch)
  • Ringworm of the body (tinea corporis)
  • Secondary bacterial infections

The best way to avoid complications is to take care of your feet. Wear flip-flops in communal areas. Maintain good hygiene. Avoid using the same shoes and socks with others.

Learn more: 12 Foods to Eat for Thicker Hair and Stronger Nails

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