Athlete's foot, help

So, two years ago I had athlete’s foot, and now I have it again. Like last time, I must have gotten it an the BSA summer camp I attended with my troop. Last time it lasted for months. Probably from mid July till October.

Two weeks ago is when I really noticed it. I have been treating it with Lamisil, desenex powder, tinactin spray and white vinegar foot soaks.

This week I have gotten more strict with my treatments (at first I was hoping the Lamisil would take care of it without too much trouble.

Currently, when I wake up in the morning I wipe my feet with rubbing alcohol, then apply Lamisil cream (and remain bare foot). About 40 minuets later I apply desenex powder and put on my socks and boots and go to work. When I take my lunch break I change my socks and use the tinactin spray.

After I shower I dry my feet with paper towels and then use a hair dryer on them. About 30 minuets later I soak my feet in white vinegar (I was using it undiluted. I was thinking that was better. But starting today I am going to mix 1 part vinegar with 2 parts hot water (I am guessing the heat helps it to be absorbed into the skin)). Then before bed I wipe my feet with rubbing alcohol, and apply Lamisil again.

I spray generic Lysol in my boots (and put them on a boot dryer), and use it on my bath tub, and give my walkways in the kitchen a fast spray at night. I go bare foot as often as I can (I live alone). I wash and dry my socks on their own on the hottest setting. And for all my clothes wash them with some Pine-sol added along with my normal detergent, and I dry them on the hottest setting.

Should this work? Any other ideas?

I am of the opinion that once you catch it, you will have it for the rest of your life. Nothing cures it. You can only treat the surface condition when it flares up. But it will always be with you.

Do you have to wear shoes and socks? Months ago I had a wound on my heel that wouldn’t heal. I switched to slides (no socks) and the wound healed. I also did soaks and antibiotic cream.

I’m self employed, so I can wear what I want. I’ve gotten some odd looks, the wound healed but slides are comfortable so I’m sticking with them until first snow.

That seems like an awful lot of stuff going on. You’ve got three different antifungals - terbinafine in the Lamisil, miconazole in the Desenex powder, and tolnaftate in the Tinactin spray. Plus the vinegar.

If that’s not doing the trick in a couple of weeks, I’d go see a doctor and see if I could get them to prescribe me some oral antifungals or otherwise check it out. It shouldn’t last that long with that much effort going into treating it.

This! I’ve usually been successful treating mine with lamisil, but the one time I delayed starting treatment until it hit large parts of my foot sole a course of oral antifungals was the recommended treatment from the doctor and cleared it right up.

Your regimen seems very thorough. I’m hesitant to make any suggestions, because you’re already throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this.

However, you might want to give Vicks Vapo-Rub a try. I’ve heard of people using it for athlete’s foot. There is evidence that it works on toenail fungus (and it seemed to work on mine), so it’s reasonable to think it may help with athlete’s foot too.


I work as a line cook. Shoes and socks are mandatory.

Thanks to all the replies. My fear is that I am infecting my boots or other objects like my floors and that that will prolong it.

And some info online contradict other sites. Some say to sleep with socks on to keep from infecting the sheets, others say to sleep barefoot to let the feet breath. I sleep barefoot, with the sheet pulled back so my feet are not covered. Then in the morning I spray Lysol on the foot area of the bed.

My feet inevitability get wet at work. Either from water or sweat.

And is there adverse effects from over treating? What if I add vicks vaporub to my lineup? And if I do, is the equate brand as good? It looks like the same ingredients.

Moderator Action

Since this involves a real-world medical issue, let’s move this to IMHO (from GQ).

Many years back, my then teenage son, had athletes foot. We tried many OTC creams and sprays, none of which helped a lot. A trip to the doctor produced a prescription cream or ointment. The doctor also said exposure to sunlight would help a lot. It was Summer in NY so that was easy to accomplish. Son reported much less itching after quite a bit of sun. Cheap Flip Flops which were washed in bleach several times then thrown away (50 cents each at the time) helped a lot. Maybe try adding some sun to your regimen. It can’t hurt, and might help.

Cut out the Lysol sprays~it doesn’t do anything meaningful on either your sheets or kitchen floor. Inhaling all that aerosol isn’t helping your lungs either. It’s a fungus, attack it with anti-fungals. At this point a prescription from your doc sounds like a good thing to try. Check with the doc about which, if any, topical OTC treatments to continue while taking the prescription.

Also, Pine Sol in your laundry won’t do anything~again, it’s a fungus. Definitely stop drying your clothes all on high heat~that will ruin them and doesn’t help with the fungus. Drying your socks and your socks only on high heat is probably harmless and is the only clothing close enough to your feet to possibly matter.

Changing socks at lunchtime at work, so your feet stay drier, is one thing to continue doing. Heck, change them twice at work if you have a chance. Dry socks are good!

My brother was USAF and he said the military issued them two pairs of shoes. They were never supposed to wear the same pair two days in a row. If sweat etc builds up, he said, you want to give them extra time to dry out.

I always get the Equate (or some other generic version) of Vicks or any other OTC pharmaceutical product. There’s no difference that I’ve observed.

As far as I know, it’s perfectly safe.

I would look into whether the alcohol wash is beneficial, detrimental or just does nothing. It seems like that would dry the skin out too badly - making it easier for skin to crack and perhaps leaving you open to a secondary infection.

In addition, if it’s killing off normal skin flora, it might make it harder for you to fight off the athlete’s foot fungus. I’ve found that when I’m on antibiotics, that can have negative effects on other bodily systems for that reason. I won’t bother you with the details…

I would definitely encourage you to see a doctor. This might be a particularly stubborn case, or it might be something else entirely - e.g. that secondary bacterial infection.

That’s always been standard advice; never wear the same shoes two days in a row.

Ok, as far as the Pin-sol and the alcohol, they are remedies I found online.

And what prompted me to create this thread is that this week I really started feeling a burning in my feet. Not at all panful, or itchy, but a burning sensation. At night my feet would feel basically fine, but in the morning, shortly after I’m at work the burning would start. It feels a little better after I change my socks, and better still after I shower.

I looked online, and “Burning, stinging, swelling, irritation, redness, pimple-like bumps, tenderness, or flaking of the treated skin” are possible symptoms of using Desenex. So, I think I may be having a reaction to the Desenex. I’m going to stop using it and see how my feet feel.

A weird bit of advice - my friend got a case of jock itch one time and he went to the doctor and the doctor told him he had athletes foot, and was infecting his crotch via putting on his underwear each day.

So make sure you’re putting your undies on after one of your morning treatments, not before. And/or be hella careful not to touch the undies with your foot.

Also, one time I went to a podiatrist for a foot wart. He took it off and then told me I had a terrible case of athletes foot. My right foot has always peeled on the side and on the heel but hasn’t been itchy in decades. He gave me some super fancy medicine I had to get from a specific pharmacy. It didn’t work. I still have a peeling foot and still not itchyness. As someone else said…sometimes ya just live with athletes foot.

But do see a doctor. Whatever my jock itch friend had WAS cleared up by prescription.

My opinion only, YMMV, but I cured my Marine son who came home from a deployment in the Middle East with absolutely rotten feet with Head and Shoulders shampoo (the one in the dark blue bottle, it must have Selenium in it.)
He washed his feet twice a day in it. And, at least 5minute soaks in the bucket of the soapy water.
Took about a month to cure him up.

This was all that ever worked for me. I’ve had various bouts of athlete’s foot, toenail fungus, and [REDACTED], and the only effective treatment was oral terbinafine (Lamisil). Works great, though in a few years the fungus returns. Unfortunately, they always require two liver function tests. Fairly annoying.