Athlete's foot between the toes

What you need to know

You know the symptoms too well: The scaly, red rash between your toes. The itchy, dry skin. The treatments you’ve tried seem to work only for a short period of time, or not at all. Been living with that fungal infection for far too long? You’re not alone.

Nearly 7 out of 10 people experience athlete’s foot between the toes at some time

Athlete’s foot between the toes is one of the most common fungal infections. It is caused by certain types of fungi called dermatophytes (der-mah-to-fytes). Despite its name, athlete’s foot doesn’t only affect people who play sports. However, athletes are particularly prone to this fungal infection. Athlete’s foot between the toes is also common in anyone whose feet may sweat a lot while wearing closed, tight-fitting footwear. Work boots, military boots, and of course, running or walking shoes are just some examples.


  • Scaly, red rash between the toes
  • Itching that gets worse right after taking off your shoes and socks

Some types of athlete’s foot between the toes may also bring blisters, ulcers, or other types of lesions. Athlete’s foot can affect one or both feet. It can also spread, so be careful about scratching or picking at the infected areas of your feet.

Do not wear the same pair of shoes every day to give them time to dry between wearings.

How do you get this fungal infection?

Many people don’t realize how easy it is to get—and spread—athlete’s foot between the toes. It can be as simple as having your bare skin come in contact with surfaces where the fungus is present. Dermatophytes that cause athlete’s foot between the toes live and grow in warm, humid, or moist environments, such as:

The inside of shoes or boots
Surfaces, such as mats, bedding, linens, or seat cushions
Damp clothing or towels
Damp or muddy soil
Floors or walls in bathrooms, locker rooms, or by the pool

When this fungal infection won’t go away

Athlete’s foot between the toes can sometimes be treated effectively with nonprescription medicines. However, it can be stubborn and tough to treat.

Athlete’s foot between the toes may not go away, even after trying different over-the-counter treatments. Your healthcare provider may decide that it’s time to try a prescription treatment.

If you are considering a prescription option, ask your healthcare provider about NAFTIN GEL 2%.

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INDICATIONS AND USAGE: NAFTIN (naftifine hydrochloride) GEL 2% is an allylamine antifungal indicated for the treatment of athlete’s foot between the toes caused by fungus in patients 12 years of age and older.

WARNING: If there is redness or irritation on the skin with the use of NAFTIN GEL 2%, stop treatment and speak with your doctor.


1. NAFTIN GEL 2% is only for use on top of the skin. NAFTIN GEL 2% should not be used in the mouth, eyes, or vagina.

2. If there is irritation or redness with the use of NAFTIN GEL 2%, treatment should be stopped. Contact your doctor if you have irritation or redness on the skin after using NAFTIN GEL 2%.

Cancer Risk: It is not known whether NAFTIN causes cancer or causes a risk of cancer. Long-term studies to evaluate the risk of cancer from NAFTIN GEL 2% have not been done.

Pregnancy: Let your doctor know if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. NAFTIN GEL 2% should be used during pregnancy only if the benefit to the mother is greater than the risk to the unborn baby.

Nursing Mothers: It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Because many drugs pass into breast milk, women who are nursing should take care when using NAFTIN GEL 2%.

Pediatric Use: Safety and effectiveness in children under 12 years old has not been proven.

SIDE EFFECTS: In clinical trials with NAFTIN GEL 2%, the most common side effect was itching on the skin where the medicine was applied.

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.
Visit or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

REFERENCES: 1. Vlahovic TC. Choosing the right vehicle. Podiatr Manage. June/July 2008;209-218. 2. Data on file, Sebela Pharmaceuticals.