Athlete's foot can be more than a minor annoyance. The itching can be distracting and even painful, and the appearance of lesions between and on your toes is certainly embarrassing. Unfortunately, a case of athlete's foot can be notoriously hard to beat. Using an anti-fungal medication is an important first step, but there are other things you'll also need to do if you want to beat this fungus once and for all.
Disinfect your shoes.
The fungi that cause athlete's foot are extremely contagious. If they've been introduced to your shoes, then you're essentially going to re-infect your feet each time you put those shoes on. This might be why your condition clear up for a few days when you don't wear certain shoes, only to come back when you wear those shoes again. In order to successfully beat this infection, you need to disinfect your shoes. Try spraying them with a specialized shoe disinfectant. If they're not dark-colored or made from leather, soaking them in bleach water for a few minutes may be even more effective. Then, make sure they dry out completely before you wear them. Otherwise, they'll just be a nice, moist place for the athlete's foot fungus to keep replicating.
There may be occasions when you have to wear closed shoes, such as to an important meeting. However, until your infection is gone, you should stick to wearing sandals unless you absolutely have to wear closed shoes. This will allow your feet to breathe. The athlete's foot fungus won't thrive on dry, well-ventilated feet. Plus, it's easy to spray your sandals with a disinfectant after every use to help beat the condition.
Wash your feet three times a day.
Until the infection is gone, get into the habit of washing your feet three times a day. This will reduce the number of fungi on your feet, which will give your body (and medications) a head start when fighting them off. Make this the first thing you do when you get up in the morning, the first thing you do when you get home from work, and the last thing you do when you go to bed. Wash with a mild soap, and dry your feet off thoroughly. Put the towel you used to dry your feet directly in the wash. Don't reuse it – this will just introduce more bacteria to your feet.
If you just can't shake athlete's foot with these tips and a good antifungal cream, talk to your podiatrist. They may recommend a prescription antifungal medication that will fight the infection more effectively.