6 easy tips to treat and prevent athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot can be surprisingly hard to get rid of. Here’s how to get your feet fungus-free.

29 July 2015
by Karen Nel

1. Use a topical ointment

There are a wide range of over-the-counter creams for the treatment of athlete’s foot. “The best two that I can recommend are Lamisil Cream and Clicks Terbaspor Topical Cream, which is a generic equivalent,” says Clicks Pharmacist Garth Wearing. “The ingredient that you’re looking for is terbinafine – it’s very effective against athlete’s foot and both these creams contain it.”

It’s important to use the cream for at least ten days, even if the infection seems to have cleared up before then, he advises. “If you don’t use it for long enough, there are likely to still be fungal spores on your feet that you cannot see, and these can cause reinfection,” explains Wearing.

2. Treat your socks and shoes

Fungal spores can lurk in your shoes and socks, so it doesn’t help to treat your feet and not do anything about what you put on them. “If you have a really bad case of athlete’s foot, I’d suggest replacing your socks or washing them in a diluted bleach solution,” says Wearing.

Shoes are far more expensive to replace, so try placing them in a plastic zip-lock bag and putting them in the freezer for 48 hours.

3. Keep your feet dry

Fungal infections thrive in moist areas, so your first line of defence against athlete’s foot is to dry your feet very thoroughly – especially between your toes. If you do develop an infection, rather use tissues or paper towels to dry your feet. This will prevent the spores from spreading to other parts of your body via your towel.

4. Try a single-dose treatment

A single-dose treatment is a great option if you are likely to forget to apply cream every day, or if you struggle to get rid of athlete’s foot with daily treatment. “Lamisil Once is a single application product which forms a layer of film around your feet. You apply it all over the surface of your feet and then wait for a film to form before putting on your socks and shoes. After 24 hours you can wash it off. That should be the end of your athlete’s foot, as long as you aren’t re-infected,” says Wearing.

5. Powder your feet

“Anti-fungal foot powder is a good way to prevent athlete’s foot. If you are prone to infection, or you spend a lot of time in sports shoes, it’s a good idea to powder your feet – especially between the toes – before you put on your socks,” advises Wearing.

6. Don’t go barefoot

Fungal spores often hang out on the floors of showers, near swimming pools and in changing rooms. Wear plastic flip flops when walking around these areas, and remember to wash them in a bleach solution every week or so. If you do develop athlete’s foot, remember to also wear shoes at all times so that you don’t run the risk of spreading it to others.

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