What To Do When Athlete’s Foot Becomes Severe

Athlete’s Foot or alipunga as it is known in Filipino, is a common fungal infection that affects mostly men. However, this condition can affect anyone. If you have diabetes, obesity, a weakened immune system, or tissue damage or poor hygiene around your feet, you may have a higher risk of developing it.1

Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot

Common symptoms of Athlete’s Foot include an itchy, stinging or burning feeling in the feet, often between the toes. However, if left untreated, it can develop more severe symptoms–such as dry, scaly, peeling skin, inflammation that may appear reddish or purplish, and even blisters.2

Different types of of Athlete's Foot

Athlete’s foot or alipunga can develop different symptoms based on which part of the foot is infected and how severe the condition is. Here are some of them:

  • Toe web infection - this is the most common type of athlete’s foot. It usually affects the skin between your 4th toe and 5th toe, causing it to flake, crack, peel or even change color.
  • Moccasin-type infection - this type affects the bottom of the feet, usually in the heels and edges. It may cause sore feet for a few days, before causing the skin on the bottom of your feet to thicken, then crack. In some cases, even the toenails may get infected. If untreated, they can thicken and break into smaller pieces. 
  • Vesicular Infection - this type causes bumps or fluid-filled blisters (vesicles) to appear. It usually affects the bottoms of the feet, but it can also appear in other areas around the feet. 
  • Ulcerative infection - this is the rarest type of athlete's foot. It causes open sores (ulcers) to appear between the toes, and may also appear in the bottom of the feet.

How to Treat Severe Athlete’s Foot?

There are many over-the-counter (OTC) options available that can help treat this common fungal infection. They often come in the forms of creams, ointments, gels, or sprays.

Clotrimazole (Canesten®) is a popular choice for mild to moderate cases of Athlete's Foot or alipunga. But for more severe cases, a more potent active ingredient like Bifonazole.3 (CanesPro®) may be recommended. Bifonazole is a broad-spectrum antifungal agent that is absorbed into fungal cells within 20-30 minutes, and remains active for up to 120 hours, which continuously inhibits their growth and spread.4

Bifonazole (CanesPro®) is great for people with busy schedules, as it needs to be applied only once a day to the affected area. The recommended treatment period is 2-4 weeks of daily application, though individual results may vary. Bifonazole (CanesPro®) also soothes itching, which helps minimize or eliminate distractions at inconvenient times, like at work or during physical activities when used as indicated.

Know more about Bifonazole here.

If symptoms persist, consult your doctor.

ASC Ref Codes: B0060P072123C, B0215P072023C, B0095P072023C, B0061P072123C, B0062P072123C, I0139I081123C


  1. Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis) (n.d.) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22139-athletes-foot-tinea-pedis
  2. Athlete’s Foot (Tinea Pedis) (n.d.) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/22139-athletes-foot-tinea-pedis
  3. Parinyarux, Pantira et al. (2022). Towards Better CARE for Superficial Fungal Infections: A Consultation Guide for the Community Pharmacy. Pharmacy 2022, 10, 29 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8878117/
  4.  M. Plempel, D. Berg, and W. Ritter, (1987) Bifonazole, a New Topical Azole Antimycotic with Specific Properties