You don’t have to be an athlete to suffer from athlete’s foot. The British Medical Journal says that nearly a third of the general population currently suffers from this disease (medical name tinea pedis) which brings itching, inflammation, cracked skin and unpleasant odors to your poor feet.
The best athlete’s foot treatments eliminate these symptoms within days and help prevent future seizures by killing the fungus and fungal spores that are causing the infection. Some treatments also contain ingredients to fight bacteria and yeast infections, which often develop along with athlete’s foot. Just when you thought it was safe to take your shoes off, huh?
Discover our top tips for treating athlete’s foot or read on for a guide on how to buy the right treatment to quickly manage your symptoms and prevent them from recurring.
How to buy the best treatment for your athlete’s foot
What exactly is athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is a highly contagious fungal infection that is most likely to infect (and spread) by walking barefoot on contaminated floors, especially damp floors such as swimming pools and changing rooms. It can also be spread by sharing towels and socks. Fungi like it warm and humid, so the infection is more likely to start between the toes – and the more sweaty you are and the tighter your footwear, the more likely you are to suffer.
According to the NHS Health A through Z, which has some fairly nondescript photos to illustrate this, symptoms of athlete’s foot include itchy white patches between the toes; red, sore, and scaly patches on your feet; and skin that can crack and bleed. Your feet may also smell bad, usually due to bacteria infecting the area along with fungus, and some people may even notice fluid-filled blisters in the affected area.
Athlete’s foot can spread to the soles and sides of the feet between the toes, and even spread to the toenails, causing a fungal nail infection. It is closely related to other yeast infections like ringworm and jock itch.
(Are you already scratching? Don’t worry, we’ll get to the treatments in a moment.)
READ MORE: Best Nail Fungus Treatments
What ingredients should I look out for when treating athlete’s foot?
Foot treatments for athletes include all antifungal Agents that attack and kill the main types of fungus (usually dermatophytes) that cause the infection.
Different athlete’s foot infections are more responsive to one antifungal drug or another, but it’s hard to know which one will work best for you until you try.
These ingredients are most commonly used to treat athlete’s foot:
- Clotrimazole (and similar Miconazole and Bifonazole) can kill athlete’s foot in a week or two.
- Terbinafine hydrochloride attacks the cell membranes of the fungus in a slightly different way than clotrimazole.
- Tolnaftat and undecenoate are another group of antifungal drugs. Compared to other antifungal drugs, you may have more or less success with them depending on the type of fungus that has invaded your skin.
Many athlete’s foot treatments also involve antibacterial Agents like Undecenoic acidthat can help get rid of the unpleasant odor often associated with the infection.
Some treatments also include anti-inflammatory ingredients Relieve itching and pain. Hydrocortisone is a mild corticosteroid that treats the symptoms of athlete’s foot and is particularly effective when combined with clotrimazole.
The best athlete’s foot treatments to buy
1. Canesten Athlete’s Foot Cream: The best foot care for smelly feet
Price: £ 3 | Buy now from Amazon
Athlete’s foot can be smelly old business, thanks to the bacteria associated with fungus. This is why Canesten’s cream contains active ingredients to combat bacteria and kill fungi, making it the most effective all-round treatment against unpleasant odors and itchy athlete’s foot, just in time for summer.
It takes a few days to get rid of the bacteria and you will need to keep using it for a while after the symptoms have subsided to make sure the problem doesn’t come back right away thanks to hibernating spores. But it works very quickly and powerfully to relieve the dreaded itchiness and breath. A few satisfied buyers report that wrapping the affected area in cling film after applying the cream, which is supposed to be used three times a day, speeds up the healing process.
Important Specifications – Size: 30g; Format: Cream; Active ingredient: Clotrimazole 1%
2. Scholl Athletes Foot Spray: Best foot spray for athletes
Price: € 3.60 | Buy now from Amazon
Spray treatment may not be as environmentally friendly as cream or powder, and no spray treatment will get rid of an aggressive athlete’s foot as quickly as a stronger anti-fungal cream. However, it’s so quick and easy to apply that you don’t have to worry about dirty hands or powder-covered floors. So it’s ideal to keep in your gym bag or in your locker.
This spray-on liquid also tends to get on uncomfortable places, such as you.
Important Specifications – Size: 150ml; Format: Spraying; Active ingredient: Tolnaftate 1%
3. Lamisil Once: The most powerful athlete’s foot treatment for quick results
Price: € 5.22 | Buy now from Amazon
Lamisil Once only requires one application to kill the fungus causing your infection, making it the fastest effective treatment for athlete’s foot. Apply the entire contents of the small 4g tube to the affected area and the strong terbinafine content will penetrate your skin and target the fungus and act for up to 13 days until the problem is resolved.
The catch is that you are not allowed to wash the affected area for the first 24 hours after application, but afterwards the cream forms an invisible protective layer over the anti-fungal chemicals, which can then continue to work while bathing and showering as normal.
Important specifications – size: 4g; Format: Cream; Active ingredient: Terbinafine
4. Mycota Powder: Best Athlete’s Foot Treatment for Kids
Price: € 4.49 | Buy now at Lloyds Pharmacy
Powder offers a gentler, less invasive way to treat athlete’s foot and other itchy skin infections. It’s suitable for use on children, unlike creams and sprays, and holds up well in the bathroom cabinet to quickly combat occasional flare-ups. Thanks to the powder’s antibacterial and moisture-wicking properties, smelly feet will definitely get more fragrant after a few days of use, but don’t expect a sweet talc smell from Mycota – it’s a drug and definitely smells like that! And while powder is a relatively inexpensive way to treat athlete’s foot, it’s pretty difficult to apply this stuff without messing the floor.
Important Specifications – Size: 70g; Format: Powder; Active ingredient: Zinc undecenoate 20%, undecenoic acid 2%
Buy now at Lloyds Pharmacy
5. Daktarin Active Cream: Effective foot care cream for athlete’s foot with added moisture
Price: £ 4.85 | Buy now from Amazon
Another cream, another antifungal agent (this time it’s miconazole nitrate) that attacks the fungus that is causing the infection. Daktarin is especially good for keeping your skin hydrated, so it’s a great choice for soothing the cracked and flaky skin that can be an uncomfortable symptom of athlete’s foot.
Important Specifications – Size: 30g; Format: Cream; Active ingredient: Miconazole nitrate 2%