Prescription Pad

              Athlete Foot

Intro

A simple fungal infection such as athlete's foot can become "super-infected" with bacteria. If this should happen, the rash will become increasingly painful and red. Your foot may become swollen, and you may develop blisters and even open sores in the infected area. These are indications that you may need oral antibiotics and will need to call your doctor.

It is unlikely that athlete's foot would ever become severe enough that a trip to a hospital's emergency department is required. However, if you have diabetes or any other type of illness that will make it hard for your body to fight off an infection, athlete's foot may become an emergency.

If you develop severe pain, redness, or swelling, notice a puslike drainage, see large blisters or ulcers on your foot, or if you develop a fever, you should be seen as soon as possible by your doctor, who may direct you to an emergency department.

Self-Care at Home
  • Many over-the-counter antifungal medications can be applied to the affected area. These creams should be used sparingly but regularly, at least once a day. An application the size of a chocolate chip should be adequate to cover the entire bottom of your foot.
  • It is important to keep your feet clean and dry. Wear clean absorbent socks made of natural fibers, such as cotton, and change them during the day if your feet become moist or sweaty.
  • If possible, remove the insoles of shoes and sneakers to allow them to dry out over night.
  • Dusting the inside of your shoes and socks with talcum powder or a medicated powder such as Desenex will help to decrease the moisture level.
  • Alternate wearing different pairs of shoes to allow them to dry out for a day or two at a time.
Prevention

Simple precautions may help.

  • Wear sandals in public locker rooms and swimming areas.
  • Do not wear someone else's shoes, especially if that person has athlete's foot.
  • Thoroughly clean home showers and floors where family members walk barefooted to avoid spreading the fungus.

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