A Podiatrist for Major Athletes Recommends the Best Foot Care Products (2023)

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Whether you have ingrown toenails, athlete’s foot or just really thick calluses, your feet could likely use some TLC. A pedicure at a corner salon seems like a reasonable solution, but unsanitary practices and cross-contamination might hurt your foot health more than it helps. To get an expert’s take on how to best care for your feet, I turned to Marcela Correa. She’s a medical pedicurist and the founder of Medi Pedi in midtown Manhattan.

Correa’s passion for foot care started in her home country of Uruguay, where she studied podology and worked with a professional soccer team. She saw firsthand how foot injuries could sideline skilled athletes, and how proper foot care could make all the difference in preventing them. At Medi Pedi, Correa regularly treats professional athletes and dancers suffering from foot fungus, hammer toes and more. When she moved to the U.S., Correa was surprised to find a lack of understanding about foot care, particularly in the realm of hygiene and prevention.

From ballerinas to NHL, MLB and NBA stars, high net-worth individuals entrust their precious feet to Marcela Correa’s expert care. She’s seen it all, and truly loves feet — she doesn’t believe there’s such a thing as ‘ugly feet.’ In fact, she encourages her clients to take before and after photos so they can see the progress they’ve made. Now, if you’re ready to devote some attention to your feet, it’s time to take a cue from the pros and listen to Correa’s recommendations. Correa helped us find products for common foot issues like athlete’s foot and ingrown nails. She also helped us find some options for specific sports like hiking, running and skiing. Read on to learn about some of the products she personally vouches for.

Unsurprisingly, athlete’s foot is a common issue for those seeking Correa’s expertise. Her recommendation is a foam anti-fungal treatment called FungiFoam. The thick, cream formula penetrates deeply into the skin using oil-soluble tolnaftate to heal athlete’s foot in just a few days. Not only does it effectively treat the infection and flaking skin, but it also provides relief from itching. FungiFoam is formulated to moisturize without leaving a greasy residue, which is very important because cracked heels are one of the most uncomfortable side effects of athlete’s foot. Correa suggests wearing these Heel Hero Gel Protectors for at least five minutes after applying the foam so it doesn’t get wiped off whether walking around barefoot or pulling on a pair of socks.

Products to Treat Ingrown Nails

According to Correa, many of her clients mistake skin buildup for ingrown nails. Tight shoes and long nails can cause toes to overlap, which makes the nail dig (painfully) into the side of the toe. Correa has seen this condition across many sports, especially with hockey players whose narrow skates confine toes. She recommends Gehwohl Fluid and adds that “it’s not only applying and walking away” — you should massage the fluid into your nail. The active ingredient is clove oil, which has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. It’s a clear liquid, with a thin texture that goes a long way (you only need a few drops per application). Correa recommends using the fluid in conjunction with toe separators. These “Preven-toe” Gel Aligners will prevent toes from overlapping and can be worn comfortably with socks and shoes. Correa says once you start using this fluid the skin may still “build-up, [but] it’s going to build much slower this time,” because the fluid will help diminish friction.

Products to Treat Other Nail Issues

Correa recently met with the podiatrist who works with Real Madrid, and she saw the facility where players’ walks are filmed and studied. This level of hyper-attention to feet is what Correa also provides. She explains that bruised nails are one of the most common problems for soccer players (because they often strike the ground). If left unattended, bruising can pave the way for fungus, so Correa recommends trimming nails as short as possible so blood can drain.If it does become fungus, Correa knows what works best. She estimates that close to 90% of athletes have suffered from nail fungus (not necessarily related to bruising). The combination of sweaty feet and tight performance shoes is a recipe for fungus. Moisture is very much the enemy when it comes to persistent toe fungus. Correa suggests using toe sleeves when showering to minimize water contact with infected nails. For treatment, Correa recommends twice-daily use of Formula 3, an anti-fungal oil that absorbs in seconds. It’s best applied after showering when the skin has more capacity for absorption. Correa recommends massaging the product into infected nails for better penetration. Fungus can sometimes make the toenail lift from the toe bed and create a gap so massage also helps lessen this gap.

Products for Marathon Runners

Marathon runners often seek out Correa leading up to a big race. She advises coming in for a Medi Pedi treatment at least one week before the race. If you’re clipping your own nails (aim for super round corners). You should abide by this one-week buffer because clipping too close to the race can make nails very sensitive. She also recommends 100% cotton socks (this 4-pack from Amazon meets her criteria) because synthetic materials can lead to overheating. Finally, when applying foot powder, Correa advises blending it the same way you would foundation (make-up) so there is no excess residue. This Gehwohl foot powder keeps feet dry and odorless by using tapioca starch, micronized zinc oxide and Bisabolol.

Products for Hikers

Hiking boots are notoriously difficult to break in. Hikers often wear their blisters (and scars) as badges of honor. Even if you can’t dodge blisters completely, Correa offers some advice to make the odds lean in your favor. Any time you’re preparing to hike, Correa suggests exfoliating beforehand. Even with great-fitting boots, feet will shift up and down much more than regular walking and that friction creates a blister-friendly environment. What develops when you don’t exfoliate is a paste made from dry skin called calluses. That paste and sweat are what eventually lead to blisters. To slough off that paste-creating dead skin, Correa suggests a two-step process. First, use this Cuccio Stainless Steel File that uses grit abrasive paper to remove dead skin. It’s easy to sanitize after each use. You can even replace the grit paper when it wears down. Next apply Lipidro Cream, which Correa says further exfoliates feet. It also helps hold moisture “so the skin is elastic and not dry” when you’re hiking. The cream features urea, which breaks the cell bond of the rough skin to soften calluses.


Skiers frequently come to Correa complaining of athlete’s foot, and as an advocate of preventative action, Correa points them toward Medi Pedi’s own UV Sterilizer. The sterilizer kills bacteria in your shoes in just fifteen minutes. It works with ski boots, stilettos, sneakers and even children’s shoes.

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What do podiatrists recommend for athlete's foot? ›

If at-home treatment has not worked, your podiatrist may prescribe an oral antifungal medication or a stronger cream, spray, ointment, or powder. A prescription medication will attack the fungus and prevent it from spreading. Your podiatrist will recommend treatment based on your personal case and needs.

What is the best solution for athlete's foot? ›

After washing and drying your feet, apply an antifungal product. The antifungal terbinafine (Lamisil AT) has been shown to be very effective. Another option is clotrimazole (Lotrimin AF). You may need to experiment to find the product and formulation — ointment, gel, cream, lotion, powder or spray — that work for you.

Does a podiatrist treat athletes foot? ›

If you are dealing with persistent or recurring athlete's foot it's important that you also have a podiatrist that you can turn to for answers. While this condition may seem harmless it's important that you don't leave it untreated. A podiatrist can provide you with the treatment you're looking for.

How do athletes take care of their feet? ›

This might sound like a no-brainer, but it takes more than a daily shower to keep your feet clean and healthy.
  1. Use a gentle soap and clean between your toes. After bathing, always dry your feet completely. ...
  2. Change your socks often. ...
  3. Keep your socks, slippers or flip-flops on. ...
  4. Your shoes should be as clean as your socks.
Jun 1, 2017

What are the best foot soaks for athlete's foot? ›

Sea salt is known to have strong antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it another ideal home remedy for treating athlete's foot. Treating athlete's foot with sea salt involves either soaking your feet in a sea salt bath or making a paste out of sea salt and vinegar and applying it to the feet.

What is the best treatment for athlete's foot and toenail fungus? ›

Your health care provider may prescribe an antifungal cream, such as efinaconazole (Jublia) and tavaborole (Kerydin). You rub this product into your infected nails after soaking. These creams may work better if you first thin the nails.

Who specializes in athlete's foot? ›

Dermatologists are medical doctors who treat skin problems. Because athlete's foot is a skin problem, it can be treated by dermatologists. Dermatologists can also treat numerous other skin conditions and perform surgery if necessary.

What is podiatrist sports medicine? ›

Podiatric sports medicine physicians provide medical care that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of sports-related injuries and conditions affecting the foot and ankle.

Do podiatrists treat fungal infections? ›

Your podiatrist can help you take care of not only your feet and ankles, but also your toenails. One very common condition that podiatrists treat are fungal toenail infections.

What causes best athlete's foot? ›

Athlete's foot is caused by the same type of fungi (dermatophytes) that cause ringworm and jock itch. Damp socks and shoes and warm, humid conditions favor the organisms' growth.

Should you keep athletes foot dry or moist? ›

Always keep your feet dry and protected. For athletes and pool lovers, it is common for this fungus to spread as showers in locker and changing rooms are often shared; during these types of situations, it is important to always wear flip flops while showering.

What does athlete's foot feed on? ›

A majority of athlete's foot cases are caused by fungi that thrive in closed, warm, and moist environments. The fungi feed on Keratin, which is a protein found in the hair, nails, and skin.

What is the best natural treatment for athlete's foot? ›

Tea tree oil.

Because it can kill some types of bacteria and fungus, people have used it as a home remedy for many years. When rubbed into your skin twice a day, tea tree oil may be able to reduce the itching, scaling, swelling, and burning of athlete's foot.

What is the best natural remedy for athlete's foot? ›

Many natural or home remedies can be helpful in killing the fungus that causes athlete's foot.
  • Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) Share on Pinterest Studies suggest that tea tree oil may help to kill fungi. ...
  • Garlic. ...
  • Hydrogen peroxide with iodine. ...
  • Hair dryer and talcum powder. ...
  • Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

What is a natural way to get rid of athlete's foot? ›

Home Remedies for Athlete's Foot
  1. OTC.
  2. Hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Tea tree oil.
  4. Neem oil.
  5. Rubbing alcohol.
  6. Garlic.
  7. Sea salt baths.
  8. Talcum powder.

Can you soak your feet in hydrogen peroxide for athlete's foot? ›

Natural remedies for athlete's foot

A variety of home remedies for athlete's foot include hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, and vinegar-and-water athlete's foot soaks.

Does vinegar stop athlete's foot? ›

For athlete's foot

For mild forms of this condition, a vinegar soak might work well. The antifungal properties also make vinegar soaks a good idea for people with toenail fungus. Soak your feet for 10 to 15 minutes daily in a vinegar bath until the infection subsides.

Can you soak your feet in vinegar for athlete's foot? ›

As vinegar has antifungal properties, soaking the feet daily in a vinegar foot bath could help fight off fungal infections, such as athlete's foot.

Does hydrogen peroxide get rid of toenail fungus? ›

Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic that isn't meant for killing toenail fungus. This medication is for treating cuts, burns and scrapes. But according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hydrogen peroxide can kill some types of fungi, such as yeasts and moulds.

Can you put apple cider vinegar directly on toenail fungus? ›

The best type of vinegar to treat toenail fungus is apple cider vinegar, a very acidic and strong solution that destroys toenail fungus at the source. To take full advantage of this, mix one cup of apple cider vinegar with at least 2 cups of water – this will dilute the vinegar so that it won't burn your skin.

How long does it take for hydrogen peroxide to get rid of fungus? ›

Kill mold and mildew

To kill them without having to breathe in toxic bleach fumes, spray with undiluted 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and allow it to sit for 30 minutes.

Is Athlete's foot A virus or a fungus? ›

Athlete's foot is an infection of the feet caused by fungus. The medical term is tinea pedis or ringworm of the foot.

What is the difference between foot fungus and athlete's foot? ›

Athlete's foot describes a fungal infection of the skin of your feet and the areas between your toes. Toenail fungus can develop from the athlete's foot fungus and then spread from one nail to another. Unlike athlete's foot, which spreads easily, toenail fungal infection is rarely passed from one person to another.

What fungal infections are like athlete's foot? ›

Jock itch, athlete's foot, and ringworm are all types of fungal skin infections known collectively as tinea. They're caused by fungi called dermatophytes that live on skin, hair, and nails and thrive in warm, moist areas.

What is the most common problem treated by podiatrist? ›

The most common foot problem that a podiatrist treats is heel pain. Heel pain can be caused by a variety of different conditions, such as plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendinitis. Treatment for heel pain often includes things like stretching exercises, orthotic devices, or cortisone injections.

Do podiatrists give medication? ›

For a valid medical purpose and within the limits of podiatry scope of practice, Podiatrists can write prescriptions to treat any disease, disorder, physical injury, deformity or ailment of the human foot.

What is the fastest way to cure athlete's foot at home? ›

Like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol can help kill off the fungus that's on the surface level of the skin. You can apply it directly to the affected area or soak your feet in a footbath of 70 percent rubbing alcohol and 30 percent water for 30 minutes.

How I cured my athlete's foot naturally? ›

Many natural or home remedies can be helpful in killing the fungus that causes athlete's foot.
  1. Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) Share on Pinterest Studies suggest that tea tree oil may help to kill fungi. ...
  2. Garlic. ...
  3. Hydrogen peroxide with iodine. ...
  4. Hair dryer and talcum powder. ...
  5. Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

Is hydrogen peroxide safe for athlete's foot? ›

For optimal results, it's best to choose an FDA-approved athlete's foot treatment. Hydrogen peroxide is known for its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal applications. However, there are no studies that show evidence of its effectiveness against athlete's foot.


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