Are Over-the-Counter Treatments for Athletes Foot Effective?


Quick Answer

In most cases, over-the-counter medicines and proper hygiene are all it takes to treat athlete's foot, according to WebMD. A doctor's treatment is generally only necessary for diabetics or people suffering from infections that keep recurring or are severe.

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Full Answer

As of 2015, nonprescription medicines for athlete's foot include clotrimazole, branded as Lotrimin; tolnaftate, branded as Tinactin; miconazole, branded as Micatin; and terbinafine, branded as Lamisil. These medicines take the form of lotions, creams, sprays, gels or powders applied on the skin. Topical treatment lasts between one and six weeks, as stated by WebMD.

People who have developed a blister infection with their athlete's foot should soak their feet in Burow's solution a few times a day for at least three days until the fluid from the blister is gone. At that point, it's time to start using antifungal cream. Compresses using Burow's solution are also effective. It's important to complete the course of medication even if symptoms resolve sooner to keep the athlete's foot from returning, notes WebMD.

In addition to medicines, such foot hygiene practices as keeping the feet dry and clean, wearing socks to soak up sweat, wearing sandals or shoes that permit the feet to breathe, putting antifungal powder or talcum on the feet and airing out shoes for 24 hours before putting them back on all minimize the risk of repeated athlete's foot, reports WebMD.

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