Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection of skin between the toes, which can spread further onto the foot such as nails if left untreated. It appears as patches of soft, white, cracked skin, sometimes with red areas visible underneath. Athlete’s foot may cause itching, burning or stinging and can have an unpleasant odour. It spreads via wet floors and shared footwear or towels.
Topical antifungals containing clotrimazole, miconazole, terbinafine, tolnaftate, undecenoic acid or zinc undecenoate are available as creams, gels, liquids, spray powders and powders in pharmacies. The most effective antifungals for athlete’s foot are terbinafine (Lamisil AF® cream) and the azoles such as miconazole (Daktarin®) and clotrimazole (Canestan®). These are all available without prescription in pharmacies. They are also available on the medical card scheme with a GP’s prescription. Terbinafine is considered the most effective treatment for athlete’s foot and Whelehans sell a less expensive generic version of terbinafine cream called Lanafine AFR cream available. This is available for less than €5 which is less expensive that other brands.
Most antifungal products stop the growth of fungi, but do not kill them. Continue treatment for at least 14 days after the area has healed, because the body needs to shed the infected skin for complete eradication of the fungi. However some products including terbinafine do kill the fungi and where these are used the treatment courses are shorter.
Athlete’s foot can be treated with terbinafine for just one week, in most cases. Some products combine an antifungal with hydrocortisone cream, and these can be useful if there is severe itching. This includes Canestan HC® cream which is only available on prescription. However, these combination products should be used for a maximum of two weeks – after that time a product containing an antifungal alone should be used. Antifungal dusting powder such as Daktarin® powder can be used to prevent athlete’s foot from recurring by sprinkling the treatment into socks and shoes each day. Never use moisturising creams between your toes. This will make them moist leading to an ideal environment for fungus growth. Dry thoroughly between your toes after washing.
Your pharmacist or chiropodist can examine your foot and confirm if Athletes foot is the problem and advise on the best course of action. Whelehans Pharmacy Chiropody service is every Tuesday and Thursday for adults and children. Call us at 044 9334591 to book your foot appointment.