Most cases of athlete’s foot will clear up with simple antifungal medication and self-care methods detailed below in ‘Prevention’. It is important that both regimes are adhered to strictly to allow the infection to clear up and prevent re-infection. The self-care methods will also help to prevent the spread of your infection to others.
The common antifungal preparations include:
Creams and gels are the standard topical treatments for athlete’s foot. They are normally applied twice a day for up to 14 days (check the individual treatments for specific details). Athlete's foot cream should be applied to any areas of flaky or red skin and the surrounding areas of healthy skin when they are clean and dry.
Powders have the dual action of being anti-fungal as well as helping to absorb moisture from the feet. They can be used in combination with creams or gels to give thorough coverage and increase the likelihood of successful treatment. They can be used to dust the feet, shoes and socks to kill any fungus and prevent re-infection.
Sprays can be used instead of creams/gels as a more convenient and pleasant method of application for people who struggle to apply the cream to their toes or do not want to touch the areas of infection.
Lamisil Once is a one-off anti-fungal application that creates a film over the infected area and treats the infection over a 7-day period. It has the advantage of not requiring further applications.
You should always ensure that the treatments are applied to clean, dry feet and your hands are thoroughly washed after touching the infected area to reduce the spread of infection. With most of the athlete’s foot treatments, excluding Lamisil Once, you will need to continue applying the treatments for around 7 days after the infection disappears to have cleared up to prevent re-infection.
You can also use a combination cream containing an anti-fungal and hydrocortisone (Canesten HC, Daktacort) to treat athlete’s foot that is particularly red, sore or inflamed. The added hydrocortisone will help to reduce the inflammation associated with the infection as well as the action of the included anti-fungal. It should be used for a maximum of 7 days and it should never be used on areas of broken skin.