While most cases of athlete's foot can be effectively treated with home remedies, you should see a doctor if:
- You develop cracks in the webs between your toes. Cracks could be a sign of cellulitis, a skin infection.
- Your athlete's foot infection doesn't respond to home remedies or over-the-counter treatments within two to three weeks. You may have eczema, psoriasis, or some other ailment.
- Your infection is getting worse despite treatment. Some fungus strains are very hardy and require prescription medications such as ketoconazole and griseofulvin.
- One or both feet swell.
- Pus appears in the lesions.
- The fungus spreads to your hands. Treatment may require prescription oral medication.
- The toenails appear thick and discolored. This indicates the toenails have become infected with the fungus. Over-the-counter medications often fail to work on toenail fungus.
For more information and to see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Timothy Gower is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in many publications, including Reader's Digest, Prevention, Men's Health, Better Homes and Gardens, The New York Times, and The Los Angeles Times. The author of four books, Gower is also a contributing editor for Health magazine.
Alice Lesch Kelly is a health writer based in Boston. Her work has been published in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Woman's Day, Reader's Digest, Eating Well, and Health. She is the co-author of three books on women's health.
Linnea Lundgren has more than 12 years experience researching, writing, and editing for newspapers and magazines. She is the author of four books, including Living Well With Allergies.
Michele Price Mann is a freelance writer who has written for such publications as Weight Watchers and Southern Living magazines. Formerly assistant health and fitness editor at Cooking Light magazine, her professional passion is learning and writing about health.
ABOUT THE CONSULTANTS:
Ivan Oransky, M.D., is the deputy editor of The Scientist. He is author or co-author of four books, including The Common Symptom Answer Guide, and has written for publications including the Boston Globe, The Lancet, and USA Today. He holds appointments as a clinical assistant professor of medicine and as adjunct professor of journalism at New York University.
David J. Hufford, Ph.D., is university professor and chair of the Medical Humanities Department at Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine. He also is a professor in the departments of Neural and Behavioral Sciences and Family and Community Medicine. Dr. Hufford serves on the editorial boards of several journals, including Alternative Therapies in Health & Medicine and Explore.