Does athlete's foot fight back?

I had classic case of athlete’s foot this past weekend (or as they call it around here, “Hong Kong feet”), with peeling skin between my toes. I started applying Lamisil on both feet, even though only the right one showed symptoms.

The day after I applied it, though, an itchy rash appeared on the top of my toes and the adjacent foot area. It looked like a bunch of tiny red pin pricks. But that was only on the Hong Kong foot. The other foot didn’t show any symptoms at all.

So is the fungus retreating inland or what?

No - what’s happening is a skin infection that has an opportunity to gain hold because of the breaks in the skin caused by the fungus. Good stuff.

Spread on some antibacterial ointment as well. If it gets worse you may need a prescription for an oral antibiotic.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, just a patient that has had this happen to him.

yes while athletes foot is pretty yucky, it sets up a certain microenvironment where some bugs thrive and others dont. Removing the fungus means that it is possible that more harmful bacteria can move in, at least temporally. I had this problem where if I treated the AF, my feet would be worse off. In the end my AF feet and I came to a truce, and we both live with each other and it seems to work.

I don’t dispute any of the answers above but wanted to note that AFAICT, it is indeed possible to get a fungal infection from the athletes foot fungus on the top of your toe or foot.


Which discusses the fungus-then-bacteria sequence you guys noted, but also seems to make clear the fungus itself can spread to beyond just the area between the toes.

As a note, I think I have seen anti-fungals that explicitly say “kills most athletes foot between toes in one week; results may differ for other areas of foot.”

A takeaway lesson is that this is a fairly persistent nasty little fungus and while you may get immediate relief from itching and scaling in just a few days anti-fungal therapy, you really need to keep slathering the stuff on for some days beyond your becoming asymptomatic to prevent recurrence.

You are right about that. I treated a case of athlete’s foot for the full 30 days recommended on the package, but it still recurred after a couple of months. So that time I did the 30 day treatment as before, but followed by putting an antifungal powder in my shoes before putting them on, and continued that for another 30 days. That seems to have cured it.

Athlete’s Foot can occur anyway, but the (often) damp area between your toes is a good breeding ground for it. That’s why you should always wash your hands thoroughly after applying the cream or whatever treatment you’re using (of if you just touch the infected area, for that matter). There was an episode of House where some random patient guy used his toenail clippers to cut his nose hair and ended up with AF in his nose. Don’t know if that would happen, per se, but it’s definitely possible to get AF in other areas