Think You Have Athletes Foot Heres How To Treat It And Avoid More Serious Problems
Perhaps the skin in between your toes is itchy. Or the skin on the sides of your feet is flaking and irritated.
These are classic signs of athletes foot. Doctors call it tinea pedis and its a common fungal infection, affecting 15 to 25 percent of people at any one time.
Its flaky dead skin overlying redness, says Adam Friedman, a dermatologist at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Skin between the toes may look white and soggy, the soles of the foot are more likely to be dry and flaky, and reddening and blistering can appear anywhere.
Still it might be something else psoriasis and eczema can look a lot like athletes foot.
So how can you be sure you have athletes foot? Do you need to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment?
Most people want to treat athletes foot, says Shari Lipner, a dermatologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. Even when the itching and burning symptoms are very mild, the condition is unsightly. Also, the fungus can invade the nail and nail fungus is much harder to treat, Lipner says.
But you dont necessarily need to see a doctor. Its okay to try an over-the-counter product on your own. Look for those that contain an antifungal medication such as terbinafine , clotrimazole , tolnaftate , miconazole , or undecylenic acid . Other products, such as those containing tea tree oil or natural salts, have little evidence to back their use, Lipner says.
Maphie Nail Repair Pen
The Maphi Nail Repair Pen provides an affordable, surprisingly effective treatment for nail fungus. There is no muss and fuss, and if you use it as directed, you should start to see improvement in two or three weeks.
What we like: O-hydroxybenzoic acid is one of the most powerful non-prescription antifungals you can get. When combined with deacetylated chitin, it weakens the cellular structure of the fungal cells then eliminates them.
Flaws: Applying it three times a day means you may run out before the treatment period ends.
How Can I Prevent Athlete’s Foot
Don’t go barefoot in public areas such as the pool or gym where many others are also barefoot. Cut your risk by keeping your feet clean, dry, and powdered with an over-the-counter antifungal foot powder. Other sensible steps:
- Wear synthetic socks, and shoes that breathe shoes that keep water out also keep sweat in.
- Never share shoes, socks, or towels.
- If you get athlete’s foot, wash your socks and towels in the hottest water possible.
- Be doubly cautious if you take an antibiotic. The medication can kill beneficial bacteria that normally control the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
- Take your shoes off when you go home and let your feet get exposed to the air.
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What Ailment Are You Seeking To Treat
Different types of fungus require different types of antifungal cream. The packaging or label may tell you whether a cream is useful for treating a particular ailment. If not, look for the active ingredient. For example, terbinafine is effective for treating ringworm, jock itch, and athlete’s foot. Miconazole is used to treat the aforementioned ailments and yeast infections, too.
Some antifungal creams include ingredients that help with other symptoms as well, such as inflammation.
“Do you have an itch that wont go away? It could be a dry skin condition like eczema, but dont discount the possibility of a fungal infection. “
Simple Topical Nail Treatment At Home
Most home treatments have no effect whatsoever to beat nail fungus. Trying unproven treatment methods and messing around with nail infections might even have a negative effect. You increase the risk of getting your healthy nails infected if you touch your infected toenails by rubbing Vicks Vaporub on them for instance.
Don’t be pennywise, pound foolish. The moment you discover a fungal nail infection, you should immediately take action and get treated. If the infection spreads to other nails or even family members… you might be off much worse than you initially thought!
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How Are The Treatments Used
Exactly how the treatment is used, and how long they have to be used for, depends on the product. Some products only need to be applied once a day, others have to be put on the affected skin twice a day. Most products have to be used for three to six weeks. Products that contain terbinafine are an exception. They often only have to be used once a day for one week.
You can find out exactly how to use the product by consulting your doctor, pharmacist or the package insert. It’s important to continue the treatment as instructed, even if your skin looks healthy again.
To Use Ciclopirox Topical Solution Follow These Steps:
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How Is It Treated
You can treat most cases of athlete’s foot at home with over-the-counter lotion, cream, or spray. For bad cases, your doctor may give you a prescription for pills or for medicine you put on your skin. Use the medicine for as long as your doctor tells you to. This will help make sure that you get rid of the infection. You also need to keep your feet clean and dry. Fungi need wet, warm places to grow.
You can do some things so you don’t get athlete’s foot again. Wear shower sandals in shared areas like locker rooms, and use talcum powder to help keep your feet dry. Wear sandals or roomy shoes made of materials that allow moisture to escape.
Other Oral Medications That Are Available To Treat Toenail Fungus
Oral fluconazole for toenail fungus treatment
Oral fluconazole is another pill sometimes used to treat toenail fungus. But its not a great alternative to terbinafine and itraconazole. Its not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for this use, and it doesnt work as well in head-to-head comparisons. Not only that, it needs to be taken once a week for at least 3 to 6 months.
Noxafil for toenail fungus treatment
A new medication used in the treatment of toenail fungus is posaconazole , a liquid taken by mouth. Noxafil appears to be an effective option, but the cost makes it difficult for anyone to afford.
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Excilor Nail Fungus Treatment: The Best All
Price: £14 | Buy now from Lloyds Pharmacy
Excilor’s Nail Fungus Treatment solution is the most highly-praised anti-fungal nail treatment among verified online buyers, who hail it as the one that works when others fail. It’s very easy to use, too: brush it onto your infected nail twice a day, then forget about it. It dries very fast and penetrates into the nail without the need for filing, so it’s a quick and mess-free process that soon becomes automatic, like cleaning your teeth.
Don’t expect overnight results, or even over-fortnight results . It will support healthy regrowth of the nail, so you’ll see results when the nail starts to grow back. Meanwhile, Excilor keeps working on the micro-environment of your nail, making it hostile to fungal growth and preventing further infections.
Key specs Size: 3.3ml Format: Liquid Active ingredients: Amorolfine, ciclopirox
Price: £26 |
Unlike our other recommended treatments, which stop the infection and let your nail grow out, Canespro lets you take a sledgehammer to the infected nail. Well, a scraper.
It is a bit of a faff, but very powerful. First, you have to clean and soften the affected foot in warm water, dry it, apply the ointment and cover it all with a plaster. You do this once a day. After the first 24 hours, you can start scraping at the infected nail tissue, which will start to come away. After a couple of weeks of this fun, you’ll have removed the entire infected nail. Plasters and a scraper are included in the box.
Ranking The Best Toenail Fungus Treatments Of 2021
A toenail fungus treatment provides a simple, convenient way for people to address fungal infections of the toenail.
Nearly 35 million American adults suffer from fungal infections of the toenail, with many convinced there is nothing they can do about it.
Fortunately, medical science has made impressive leaps in understanding this vexing condition, and there are now numerous OTC toenail fungus treatments that can provide relief.
We put dozens of the most popular brands to the test and concluded that the following represent the 10 best toenail fungus treatment options of 2021.
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Creams & Topical Treatments For Toenail Fungus
Over-the-counter fungal creams like clotrimazole dont work well for treating toenail fungus. Prescription nail polishes are available, but they take longer to work and arent effective for severe cases. Thats because they dont penetrate the nail very well. That said, they are still a good option for people with mild cases of toenail fungus, or for those who cant take the oral antifungals. Examples include:
Side effects are usually minor and include redness or burning at the application site.
You might hear or read about medicated chest rub as a treatment for toenail fungus, but its mostly hype. Its a tempting option because its so safe, easy to use, and cheap. But its not likely to help.
The 7 Best Toenail Fungus Treatments Of 2021
This post will explain what is the most effective treatment for toenail fungus. Toenail fungus is a typical fungal condition that frequently starts after a rash on the foot infects the nails. When moderate, it appears like white and yellow spots growing under the nail beds. However if left unattended, the fungus can grow seriously by hardening the nails and spreading to other toes.1.
The fungus often starts in the form of athletes foot between the toes or on the soles of the feet. At this phase, the fungal infection is simpler to treat with over-the-counter medication. But Shari Lipner, MD, a board-certified skin doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medicine, told Verywell Health toenail fungus can be challenging to deal with because of how sluggish the nails grow. The more difficult the toenail fungus, the thicker the nail, and the more nails involved gives it that much more difficult to deal with the nails even with effective therapies, she states.
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What Are The Treatments For Athlete’s Foot
Treat athlete’s foot at the first sign of itchiness.
Most cases of athlete’s foot can be cured with over-the-counter antifungal products and basic good hygiene. Wash and dry your feet every morning and evening, change socks or stockings daily, and don’t wear the same shoes day after day to allow them time to dry completely before wearing them again. Sprinkle antifungal powder on feet and in your shoes daily. Antifungal creams and sprays are also effective at managing the infection. Continue treatment for one to two weeks after the infection has cleared to prevent it from recurring.
Make sure your feet get plenty of air. If you can’t go barefoot or wear sandals, wear synthetic socks which will wick away moisture. Cotton and wool tend to trap the moisture and promote fungal growth. Wear shoes made of a porous material.
If not treated properly and promptly, athlete’s foot can be very stubborn. Even when treated with antifungal drugs, the infection may take several weeks to disappear and may come back after treatment.
Most of the time it responds well to these over-the-counter interventions. However, more severe cases may need to be seen by a doctor.
Best Product To Prevent Athletes Foot
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Scholl Fungal Nail Treatment: The Best Fungal Nail Treatment For Thickened Nails
Price: £13 |
One of the symptoms of a fungal nail infection is a thicker nail, which isn’t exactly helpful because it makes it harder for a treatment to penetrate and reach the infection underneath. So foot experts Scholl help things along by including five disposable files in the box. For the first few weeks of treatment, you file the surface of the infected nail before brushing on the liquid. After four weeks, ditch the files and apply the solution once a week until the nail has grown out. It’s a little more fiddly than Excilor, but it’s good value and boasts many happy customers.
Key specs Size: 3.8ml Format: Liquid Active ingredient: Amorolfine
Price: £22 |
The bottle with built-in dropper is much bigger than the likes of Excilor , but that’s partly because the Imperial Feet solution itself is much milder, relying on natural anti-fungal ingredients including tea tree oil to clear up the infection. As much as we welcome natural ingredients, this treatment will struggle to penetrate an infected nail, so it’s best kept for clearing up milder infections and preventing recurrence.
Key specs Size: 75ml Format: Liquid Active ingredient: Tea tree oil
Treatment For Athlete’s Foot From A Gp
The GP may:
- send a small scraping of skin from your feet to a laboratory to check you have athlete’s foot
- prescribe a steroid cream to use alongside antifungal cream
- prescribe antifungal tablets you might need to take these for several weeks
- refer you to a skin specialist for more tests and treatment if needed
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What Causes Athlete’s Foot
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus that grows on or in the top layer of skin. Fungi grow best in warm, wet places, such as the area between the toes.
Athlete’s foot spreads easily. You can get it by touching the toes or feet of a person who has it. But most often, people get it by walking barefoot on contaminated surfaces near swimming pools or in locker rooms. The fungi then grow in your shoes, especially if your shoes are so tight that air cannot move around your feet.
If you touch something that has fungi on it, you can spread athlete’s foot to other peopleeven if you don’t get the infection yourself. Some people are more likely than others to get athlete’s foot. Experts don’t know why this is. After you have had athlete’s foot, you are more likely to get it again.
Other Options For Toenail Fungus Infections
Removal of the toenail is only used when just one nail is infected, but it does work. Light therapy and lasers are also being studied as possible toenail fungus treatments. Laser therapy has shown promise when combined with oral or topical antifungals. A multicenter trial investigating the efficacy of a device, the Pinpointe FootLaser, is currently underway, so stay tuned to that.
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What Is The Best Laser Toenail Fungus Treatment
The fact that no one likes to talk about toenail fungus leads affected individuals to believe they are the only ones dealing with the issue. In all reality, nail fungus is one of the most common ailments afflicting the health of the fingernails and toenails of a large population of individuals. With such a large effect, nail fungus treatments have advanced in the last few years to include laser treatments and other options. These treatments are generally more effective for treating the root of the problem and completely fixing the issue.
How Is Athlete’s Foot Diagnosed
Most of the time, a doctor can tell that you have athlete’s foot by looking at your feet. He or she will also ask about your symptoms and any past fungal infections you may have had. If your athlete’s foot looks unusual, or if treatment did not help you before, your doctor may take a skin or nail sample to test for fungi.
Not all skin problems on the foot are athlete’s foot. If you think you have athlete’s foot but have never had it before, it’s a good idea to have your doctor look at it.
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