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How Do I Choose the Best Cream for Foot Fungus?

Nicole Madison
Updated Feb 12, 2024
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Since the symptoms of a foot fungus sometimes develop because of an unrelated condition, you may benefit from seeing a doctor before choosing a cream remedy. Once a doctor confirms that you have a fungal infection, you may do well to choose an over-the-counter (OTC) cream that contains a proven-effective, fast-working antifungal medication to treat it. You may also consider OTC creams that contain natural remedies for dealing with foot fungus, but they aren't usually proven to work. If OTC creams don't help, a prescription version or an oral medication may prove a better option.

OTC creams for foot fungus are often labeled for treating athlete’s foot. Often, however, this type of cream is also helpful for treating other types of foot fungus as long as it contains an effective antifungal medication. Among those commonly used in treating foot fungus are terbinafine, clotrimazole, miconazole, and ketoconazole. Since foot creams that contain any of these medications are considered effective for treating fungal infections, you might choose to compare them based on price and the length of time their labels indicate you will have to use them.

Terbanifine, which is often sold under the brand-name Lamisil®, is one option capable of providing symptom relief in just a couple of weeks. This doesn’t necessarily mean the infection will clear completely in this time, however. Although symptoms may improve quickly, OTC medication labels usually recommend using topical treatments for a few weeks to get rid of the infection altogether. In fact, your doctor may recommend that you continue using a cream for foot fungus for one week past the recommended treatment time to be sure your symptoms won't return.

Sometimes a case is too severe to respond well to an OTC cream for foot fungus. In such a case, a doctor may recommend a prescription cream that contains clotrimazole or miconazole, two of the antifungal medications most commonly used in prescription treatment. Using a cream for foot fungus that contains spectazole can prove effective and fast as well. Some medical experts assert that it can relieve the symptoms of many foot fungus infections in as little as one week.

In some cases, even a prescription cream may not be enough to treat your condition. Some fungal organisms prove stubborn or resistant to certain topical medications. In such a case, your doctor may prescribe an oral anti-fungal medication instead of or in addition to a cream for foot fungus.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.
Discussion Comments
By SteamLouis — On Jun 17, 2013

I don't understand why people suggest others to "just use an OTC anti-fungal cream." There are different types of foot fungal infections and different types of OTC and prescription anti-fungal creams. It's not possible treat every fungal infection with the same type of cream. People have to first figure out the type of fungal infection they have and then find out which medicated cream is effective for it. It's a waste of time and money to try random creams from the pharmacy.

If it's athlete's foot, for example, a cream with the active ingredient clotrimazole or miconazole is needed. Terbinafine cream is usually used for nail fungal infections and the list continues.

By fBoyle — On Jun 16, 2013

@feruze-- I was able to treat my foot fungus with OTC anti-fungal cream, but I have no idea what would be best for a blister. I think you should see a doctor right away. It might be dangerous if the fungal infection enters the bloodstream through the blister. You might need antibiotic cream and/or more anti-fungal medications.

By bear78 — On Jun 15, 2013

I have a blister between my toes that's infected. I already have a foot fungal infection and I am using a prescription anti-fungal cream for it. But this cream isn't doing anything for the blister. What type of cream am I supposed to use?

Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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