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What is athlete's foot?


Athlete's foot is a fungal infection of skin on the soles of the feet and between the toes. It often begins between the toes, where the athlete's foot fungus thrives in a warm, moist area. It can lead to scaly, itchy areas, and over time may cause your skin to crack and become sore.

Potential athlete's foot treatments and cures

Over-the-counter and prescription antifungal medicines can cure athlete's foot. Sometimes it can spread to the toenails which may require prescription medicine to cure. The fungus forms only in the upper, dead layer of your skin and doesn't penetrate deeper. But if the skin cracks during the infection, a bacterial infection can result. If this happens, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic medication.

Athlete's foot avoidance

Athlete's foot is contagious. The fungus can be passed from person to person in public showers or around swimming areas. Bath mats or bath towels can also transfer the fungus from one person to another. To prevent athlete's foot, keep your feet dry. To help absorb excess moisture, wear socks made of cotton or wool or a blend of the two fabrics. Change your socks often. Also, wear leather shoes and make sure they're well ventilated. Such shoes let airflow around your feet, while synthetic shoes or shoes with waterproof uppers and rubber soles don't. Changing shoes during the day also can help keep your feet cool and dry. Wear water shoes or sandals in public showers and swimming areas to prevent contracting athlete's foot from others.

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Answers to questions regarding information about medications or health conditions are not for diagnostic or treatment purposes and are not conclusive as to the presence or absence of any health condition. Consult your physician for diagnosis and treatment of your medical condition. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of the scientific literature may vary. Walgreens' terms of use and general warranty disclaimer apply to all services provided. If you are in need of immediate medical attention, contact your physician, poison control center or emergency medical professional. If you need to speak with a pharmacist for non-emergency matters, contact your local Walgreens pharmacist or call a pharmacist toll-free at 1 (877) 250-5823.

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