Dry, cracked skin around the toes is often extremely painful and can make it difficult to walk and engage in other daily activities. In most cases, dry skin between the toes is not a sign of a serious condition, and you can effectively treat the problem at home.
Athlete's foot is a fungal infection and one of the most common causes of dry, cracked skin around the toes. In some cases, athlete's foot results from a soft corn, psoriasis, eczema or a bacterial infection. Symptoms of scabies, a condition caused by small mites that burrow under the skin's surface, often appear between the toes. Scabies causes dry, irritated skin that appears as a rash of red bumps.
Keeping areas of cracked skin between your toes dry is extremely important to combating a fungal infection. Use a clean towel to carefully dry between each toe after showering or sweating. Placing cotton balls or foam wedges between your toes can help prevent the infection from spreading and keep your feet dry. Apply a topical anti-fungal cream between your toes until your skin heals. Anti-itch creams and powders can help reduce irritation while treating a fungal infection or scabies.
Over-the-counter products are usually effective in clearing up athlete's foot, but you may need a prescription anti-fungal medication if the condition is severe or does not improve with at-home care. Your doctor can provide you with a topical or oral anti-fungal medication to clear up the cracked skin between your toes. If you suspect you have scabies, make a doctor's appointment. Apply prescription creams for scabies to your entire body below the neck, unless directed to do otherwise. If you fail to cover your body in the cream, the mites can migrate to other areas of your body.
Keep your feet clean and dry to prevent fungal infections. Cotton socks help absorb moisture to prevent irritating the skin between your toes. Make sure your shoes fit properly and do not constrict your toes. Wear rubber sandals or stand on a paper towel in public showers and avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as pools and gyms. Use over-the-counter anti-fungal powders in your shoes to help prevent fungus spores from growing in them.
If you are diabetic, talk to your doctor about any problem you have with your feet before attempting to treat the condition at home. If you have recurring fungal infections, make an appointment to see your doctor or a podiatrist to help you identify why the problem keeps coming back and to recommend an appropriate course of treatment.