Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that often occurs between the toes. It gets its name from the fact that it's often spread through gym showers, and because it is common in athletes due to their sweaty, moist feet. Most cases of athlete's foot clear up within a week or two if you use an over-the-counter fungal cream or spray and make sure your feet get plenty of air. Sometimes, however, athlete's foot can be particularly stubborn and tough to cure. Follow these steps to fight a case of athlete's foot that seems determined to hang on 'till the playoffs.
Step #1: Make sure your feet are getting enough air.
Many people assume that their feet are getting enough air to cure the infection as long as they stop wearing tight shoes and sweaty socks. For a stubborn case of athlete's foot, however, you need to take airing your feet out to the extreme. Say goodbye to any type of footwear other than sandals. Sleep with your feet bare and sticking out from underneath the blankets, so they don't get moist. The fungus that causes athlete's foot thrives in moist, oxygen-poor environments. By airing your feet out and keeping them dry, you'll make it harder for the fungus to reproduce and spread.
Step #2: Get a prescription treatment.
If you're still suffering after a week or more of airing out your feet and using over-the-counter sprays and creams as directed on the label, it's time to seek out professional help. Call your physician or podiatrist (at Elmhurst Podiatry Center Ltd), and explain your situation. He or she will probably want to schedule an appointment to confirm your diagnosis, and can then recommend a stronger prescription anti-fungal cream that will kill your stubborn athlete's foot. Make sure you use it exactly as advised – skipping applications will just make the condition worse.
Step #3: Crack down with preventative measures.
It's possible that the problem isn't that your athlete's foot treatment isn't working, but rather that you keep becoming re-infected. While using your anti-fungals and airing out your feet, also make sure you're not sharing towels or socks with anyone else, and that you're not showering bare foot in public showers. Launder your socks and towels in hot water with bleach to kill the fungus and prevent re-infecting yourself. Also wash your bedding often in hot water. Wear sandals in the shower, and bleach them often to kill any fungus.
Athlete's foot is itchy, painful and embarrassing. Don't continue to suffer. Follow the instructions above, and you can heal even the most stubborn case. Don't be afraid to seek professional medical care for athlete's foot. Podiatrists are well-versed in dealing with this common issue and can steer you in the right direction when it comes to treatments that fit into your lifestyle and routine.