Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that usually thrives in warm, damp places. The fungus, Tinea pedis, grows between the toes, on top of the feet, on toenails and between the fingers. It spreads when your feet make contact with the fungus, which is left behind on wet floors or exercise equipment. White patches, scaly patches, and redness are all indicative of the fungus. Symptoms of athlete’s foot may include itching, burning, and stinging.
The risk of getting athlete’s foot increases with excessive sweating, a weakened immune system, minor injuries to the skin or nails, wearing closed shoes most of the time, and allowing your feet to remain wet for long periods of time. Proper skin care and good hygiene can help treat as well as prevent athlete’s foot. Also in most cases, athlete’s foot can be effectively dealt with using simple and easy home remedies.
Here are some proven home remedies for athlete’s foot.
* Organic tea tree oil
One of the more therapeutic home remedies for athlete’s foot, tea tree oil has properties that will keep the athlete’s foot fungus from getting worse and spreading. Tea tree oil is a potent antiseptic and also has anti-fungal properties that will help destroy the fungus. Soak your feet for 10 minutes in a bath of water and 40 drops of tea tree oil. After soaking, thoroughly dry your feet and then massage a few drops of oil directly onto the affected area to help cure athlete’s foot.
* Plain yogurt
Yogurt containing active bacterial cultures is very effective in fighting fungal infections like athlete’s foot. The live acidophilus bacteria present in plain yogurt helps keep fungal and bacterial infections in check. Cover the affected areas in yogurt; let it dry. You can then rinse it off with lukewarm water and thoroughly pat dry the area. Follow this remedy twice daily for several weeks. You can also eat one cup of plain yogurt in the morning and in the evening. Make sure the yogurt is plain and not the flavoured type.
Salt helps kill the fungus that causes painful skin infection. Pour a quart of lukewarm water in a tub. Add six teaspoons of salt. Soak your feet in the solution for five to 10 minutes. Use a towel to dry your feet thoroughly. Then dab some baking soda between your toes to keep it moisture free. You may repeat this process four or five times daily until you notice improvement. Sea salt also has strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, making it a great natural treatment for athlete’s foot and any complications it could cause. It may actually inhibit the growth and spread of athlete’s foot. You shouldn’t use this remedy if you have open sores or cracked skin on your feet.
A study in Mycopathologia found that sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, does have anti-fungal abilities when used on the skin. Mix about a half cup of baking soda in a large bucket or basin of warm water, soak feet for 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day. When done, dry the feet thoroughly but do not rinse. You can also sprinkle some baking soda on your feet or in your socks before putting your shoes on for the day.
* Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is commonly used to disinfect cuts and wounds and to kill germs on the skin. It kills bacteria and fungus and will help to clear up your feet. Soak your feet in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. Be aware, hydrogen peroxide will sting if you have cracked skin or open wounds.
* Apple cider vinegar and Himalayan crystal salt
The acidic property of vinegar helps kill the fungus and lower the level of alkaline found on the skin, which will inhibit the infection from spreading rapidly. Vinegar also helps draw out extra moisture from your feet, which in turn speeds up the healing process. Soak your feet in 2 tablespoons of Himalayan Crystal salt and ½ cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar solution mixed with some warm water. You can also spray your feet or wipe them down with a cloth soaked in this solution after you shower, just make sure you get them completely dry afterward. You can also wipe down the insides of shoes and sandals to help prevent the fungus from clinging there.
Garlic has anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. Allicin, the active compound in garlic, inhibits the growth of the fungus Trichophyton rubrum, the most common cause of athlete’s foot. Crush up some garlic cloves and add them to water. Soak your feet for 30 minutes. Then mix minced garlic with olive oil and apply directly to the affected area. Repeat this two to three times daily.
*Let your feet breathe
Athlete’s foot thrives in warm areas so it is important to let your feet air out and breath. If you have athlete’s foot (or even if you just want to prevent it), keep your feet as dry and clean as possible. Change your socks regularly. Wear sandals when possible and keep your feet cool and dry. Dry the space between your toes. Don’t go barefoot in public pool or gym areas.
* Green tea
Tea contains tannic acid, which is a natural astringent that helps restrict fungal activity as well as helps keep the feet free of excess moisture. It also prevents inflammation and cure infections. Place five to six green tea bags into boiling water. Let steep until it cools down enough to comfortably soak your feet. Soak feet for 10-15 minutes. Do not rinse your feet, let them dry. Repeat twice daily for five to six weeks.
It is important for people to treat a persistent case of athlete’s foot because the fungus can spread to the nails, other body parts, and other people. Those with certain health conditions, such as diabetes, should skip the home remedies and call a doctor right away if they notice problems with their feet. Even minor cracks and wounds on the feet can quickly become infected in some people with diabetes.
Your feet are responsible for taking you places, therefore, reciprocate by showing them some love!