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How to avoid getting athlete's foot

BMJ Group Medical Reference

There's a lot you can do reduce your chances of getting athlete's foot.

Keeping your feet clean and dry is your best protection. Here are some things you can do to keep your feet clean and dry. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

  • Take off your shoes at home and let your feet ' breathe'.

  • Wear sandals when you can.

  • If you have diabetes, you can let your feet air, but don't walk around barefoot or in open shoes.

  • Always take off sweaty sports shoes when you have finished using them.

  • Put on clean socks every day. Washing socks kills the types of fungus that cause athlete's foot.

  • Wear cotton, silk, or wool socks rather than synthetic (nylon) ones.

  • Wear shoes made of leather or canvas. These let your feet breathe more than plastic shoes.

  • If your shoes are sweaty or wet, let them dry out before you put them on again.

  • After you have a bath or shower, dry your feet carefully, especially between your toes.

  • Never walk barefoot in public areas, such as changing rooms. Wear flip-flops, sandals, or shoes made to be worn while swimming.

  • If you've had athlete's foot, spray the inside of your shoes with a spray to kill the fungus (called an antifungal).

  • Never borrow other people's shoes.

  • Never share towels with other people.

  • Check your pets for patches of hair loss and ask your vet to do the same. If your pet is losing hair, it could be a sign of athlete's foot. You can catch athlete's foot from your pets, and if you don't treat them you can get the infection again.



Diabetes is a condition that causes too much sugar (glucose) to circulate in the blood. It happens when the body stops making a hormone called insulin (type 1 diabetes) or when insulin stops working (type 2 diabetes).


A fungus is an organism that is sometimes considered to be a type of plant. A fungus lives by feeding on other organisms. The mushrooms we eat in salads are fungi, but so are candida and cryptococcus, which can cause infections in people's bodies.


You get an infection when bacteria, a fungus, or a virus get into a part of your body where it shouldn't be. For example, an infection in your nose and airways causes the common cold. An infection in your skin can cause rashes such as athlete's foot. The organisms that cause infections are so tiny that you can't see them without a microscope.

For more terms related to Athlete's foot


For references related to Athlete's foot click here.
Last Updated: May 21, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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