March 30th, 2009
Aside from being extraordinarily uncomfortable and irritating, having athlete's foot is simply embarrassing. Oftentimes the embarrassment of the affliction causes people to do things that actually make the athletes foot worse simply because they don't want people to see (or smell) the two slices of garbage pizza attached to the bottoms of their ankles. By make things worse I mean, primarily, never taking shoes or socks off and thus never allowing their feet to dry out. I myself am guilty of it. The one and only year I lived in the dorms I picked up a little athletes foot from, you guessed it, the communal showers. I guess I should have listened to my old man and bought those shower sandals. Oh, well. Anyway, I just dealt with it and wore shoes every day until school ended, and I went home for the summer where I could cure athlete's foot privately.
Athlete's foot is known to the medical community as tinea pedis. It is a foot fungus that is caused most commonly by these fungi: trichophyton, epidermophyton, floccossum, or microsporum. It is ridiculously common and, with proper foot care, pretty easy to treat and avoid. If you're not careful, though, it is easily contracted and spread. And if not properly treated, it can become quite serious and painful, and you could develop secondary bacterial infections. It does not necessarily stay confined to your feet either. Athletes foot can spread easily to your groin region or your armpits. All it really requires to flourish is a dark, dampish place. So I suggest that you read this article, put away your pride, and learn how to get rid of athletes foot.
Athletes Foot Treatment
Start with fungicides. Sounds easy, right? Well, actually . . . yeah. Take a quick trip the drugstore and grab yourself an over-the-counter athletes foot treatment. Since there are about 9,556 different types, it can be a little overwhelming. Don't sweat it. Ask the pharmacist what they would recommend. Don't be embarrassed about it. They are unbelievably used to this kind of thing. In case you don't want to talk to anyone, I'm gonna list a few good athlete's foot treatments in the bottom section of this article.
Keep your feet clean. This is important both for avoiding athletes foot to begin with and for getting rid of athletes foot once you've got it. Foot fungus loves icky, dirty, damp places like your nasty feet. If they are clean, they won't be as desirable for fungus. Wash your feet at least twice a day, more if you have the time. Use a bathing brush to remove any dead skin. Clean between your toes too. A bottle brush works well for that. Don't forget to clean your toenails. Use a toothpick or a matchstick instead of something metal. The metal can leave gouges in the toenail that fungus will be able to hide in. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly after touching your fungus-ridden feet.
Keep your feet dry. This is another very important step when trying to get rid of athletes foot. Every time you get out of the bath or shower, dry your feet thoroughly. This is especially important if you are about to put on socks and shoes. Don't be afraid to hit your feet with a blow dryer. Just don't set it so high that your feet sweat. Whenever possible, go barefoot or wear sandals. Also, it can take up to 24 hours for a pair of shoes to dry out completely after wearing them. So unlace them and open them up as far as you can to get them as dry as possible.
Always wear clean socks and shoes. You will want to change your socks and shoes two or three times a day, especially after you do something that causes your feet to sweat. It will create a lot of laundry, but it'll help you with getting rid of athlete's foot faster. Always wear breathable cotton socks too. Also, don't wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. As mentioned above, it can take awhile for them to dry thoroughly. Finally, after taking a pair of shoes off, give the insides of them a quick squirt with some athlete's foot antifungal spray.
Give your feet a good salt soak. Using a pan or a bucket or one of those fancy-schmancy foot soaker things, soak your feet for at least fifteen minutes twice a day. Just use plain old Epsom Salts. They're cheap and really easy to find. Just follow the directions on the box for concentrations. The salts will not only kill a lot of the foot fungus, they will also help to soften your feet so that the athletes foot cure you're using will work better and faster. Also, the salt soak will help relieve itch almost immediately.
Commercial Athlete's Foot Fungicides
There are a couple of really cool things about over-the-counter athletes foot cures. First of all is the sheer number and availability of them. They are unbelievably easy to attain. Any drugstore or any of the "mart" stores will carry them. If you are a little embarrassed about the issue, you can buy your stuff online and no one, not even your postal carrier, will have any idea what's going on in your shoes. The second thing is that they pretty much all work well. Just look for active ingredients like miconazole, itraconazole, butenafine, terbinafine, or tolnaftate to name a few. They also come in a number of different application methods. There are liquid sprays (Tinactin, Lamisil AT), creams (Lotrimin Ultra, Scholl Athlete's Foot Cream), or powders (Desenex Antifungal Foot Powder, Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder). Whatever you use, just make sure to finish the recommended regimen. If you stop using the foot treatment too early, there's a very good chance the problem will return. Finally, if you've done everything you can to do to get rid of athlete's foot and you just can't win, go to the doctor. There are stronger athlete's foot medications available through prescription.