Athlete’s foot is caused by an infection with a fungus called tinea pedis. It occurs when a person’s feet become overly sweaty in the confined space of shoes, allowing for the overgrowth of fungi. Symptoms of the condition include a red and scaly rash as well as itching and dryness on the affected foot or toes. The condition can spread through contaminated surfaces, such as towels, floors and shoes.
For most cases of athlete’s foot, over-the-counter (OTC) antifungal creams such as Lamisil (terbinafine) and Lotrimin-AF (clotrimazole) can resolve symptoms and clear the infection. These creams should be applied generously to the affected foot/toes. For more severe and difficult to treat cases, oral prescription antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan) or itraconazole (Sporanox) may be prescribed. To prevent recurring infection, it is important to complete the full course of antifungal therapy even if symptoms seem to improve. Prevention of infection includes keeping the feet dry between the toes, changing socks regularly, and wearing light, well-ventilated shoes