If you have smelly feet, try using a strong roll-on or spray anti-perspirant deodorant on them to prevent them from perspiring. It is important not to use the same container of deodorant on your feet and underarms because of the risk of cross infection.
You could also try putting a deodorising powder in your socks, or using cushioned inner soles that contain charcoal.
Athlete’s foot can be treated using one of the antifungal medications available from your pharmacist.
Fungicidal antifungals, such as terbinafine, kill fungi rather than just halting growth, making shorter treatment courses possible, for example, one to 2 weeks' treatment for athlete's foot.
Imidazole antifungals, such as clotrimazole, econazole, ketoconazole or miconazole, halt the growth of the fungi and yeast but do not kill it. They must be used until the skin sheds naturally, and should be applied for one to 2 weeks after infection has cleared.
Antifungal dusting powders may be useful in your shoes and socks to prevent re-infection. Creams are easy to apply, while spray powders give even cover over the sole and between the toes. Tinctures may sting if the skin is broken or irritated.
Corns, calluses, verrucae and warts can be treated using salicylic acid products, such as creams or corn pads. Because salicylic acid erodes away the thickened skin, the unaffected skin surrounding the corn, wart or verruca must be protected with petroleum jelly or a plaster.
You must not use these products on moles or birthmarks.
You should soak the area in warm water and gently rub the dead skin off with a pumice stone. Stop use immediately if pain or irritation occurs. Start again once the irritation has settled down.
Some conditions may need 4-12 weeks’ treatment.
Podophyllum is a pharmacist-only medicine for treating warts and verrucae. However, it can be quite toxic and should be used with care. The ointment should be applied only to the wart or verruca and unaffected skin should be protected. Podophyllum should not be used during pregnancy as it could damage the fetus.
Last Reviewed: 28 May 2002