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Treatments for athlete’s foot 

Athlete’s foot is unlikely to get better on its own. It can usually be treated using antifungal treatments available from pharmacies without needing to see a GP.

Antifungal treatments work by stopping the fungus causing your athlete’s foot from growing. They come in creams, sprays, liquids and powders, and are used in the following way:

Treatment should be applied directly to the affected skin and surrounding area.

Wash and dry the affected skin before applying the treatment, and clean your hands afterwards.

Continue treatment after the rash has cleared, as described in the leaflet that comes with your medicine, to make sure all the fungus has gone.

Antifungal treatments are similarly effective, although some work faster than others. A pharmacist can recommend an antifungal medicine that’s safe for you to use. Not all types are suitable for children, older people, and pregnant or breastfeeding women.

If your rash is very sore and itchy, a pharmacist may recommend using a mild steroid cream to ease any discomfort, but this should only be used for a short period and in combination with antifungal treatment.

Contact your GP if your athlete’s foot doesn’t start to improve after a week of treatment, or if it’s causing significant pain or discomfort. Your GP may take a small skin sample for testing and recommend stronger antifungal medicines, including tablets.

It’s also important to practise good foot hygiene during treatment to speed up recovery and prevent athlete’s foot returning.