The dreaded foot fungus is an annoying but true reality for many people. Also known as athlete’s foot or tinea pedis, is a fungal infection that usually starts out between the toes. It usually occurs in people whose feet are often confined inside tight-fitting shoes where they become sweaty. The symptoms of athlete’s foot can make your feet itchy and quite sore. The great news is, there are several fixes for this fungal nuisance that are easy to make at home and fast working to get you back on your feet again.
Symptoms of athlete’s foot
Athlete’s foot generally causes a red and scaly rash to appear. This rash may start between the toes and is often noticeable right after you take off your shoes and socks. Certain types of athlete’s foot cause blisters and ulcers, while others cause chronic dryness and scaling on the bottom of the foot and extending up the side of the foot. At first glance, it may even look like eczema or dry skin, but this infection can also spread to your hands if you scratch or pick infected places on your feet. Tinea pedis is also contagious and can quickly spread from an infected person to another via contaminated surfaces such as towels, floors, and shoes.
What causes athlete’s foot?
The same fungus that causes jock itch and ringworm also causes athlete’s foot. Sweaty socks, tight shoes, and warm and humid conditions allow for the bacteria to spread quickly. Locker rooms and public showers are often and unfairly blamed for the spread of athlete’s foot. The real issue has to do with the environment within your shoes.
Home fungal fixes that work
While there are some over the counter fixes that you can purchase for athlete’s foot, you can also turn to your pantry and medicine cabinet for relief. Here are some easy home fixes that will stop bacteria in its tracks.
Sea salt soak
Sea salt contains powerful antibacterial and antifungal properties which makes it a great natural home remedy for athlete’s foot. The most effective way to use sea salt is to dissolve a cup of sea salt into a tub of warm water. Soak your feet for at least 20 minutes and be sure to dry them throughly when finished.
Garlic is as powerful on foot fungus, but it is tremendously effective as a topical treatment for athlete’s foot. One study found that a derivative of garlic, alone, was able to completely remedy foot fungus in 79 percent of participants in just 7 days. The best way to use garlic to remedy athlete’s foot is to crush four or five cloves of garlic together. Once smashed, rub the garlic on your foot in areas where there is fungus. Do this twice a day for best results.
Neem oil and neem leaf extracts have powerful antifungal powers that are effective against athlete’s foot. Neem oil comes from the seed of the tropical neem tree known as Indian lilac. It is widely used in cosmetics, including skin creams, body lotions, and hair products. Neem contains several properties that make it an excellent all-around application for healthy skin. These include, fatty acids, vitamin E, limonoids, triglycerides, antioxidants, and calcium. Apply neem oil or neem extract directly to the impacted area two to three times a day, massaging it lightly into skin. Neem oil is especially effective for remedying infections that occur under the toenails.
Most people have some rubbing alcohol on hand. If not, it is easy and inexpensive to purchase. Rubbing alcohol is effective at killing fungus that spreads on the skin’s surface. To use rubbing alcohol as a remedy for fungus, apply it directly to the affected area or soak your feet in a bath with 70 percent rubbing alcohol and 30 percent water for 30 minutes.
Tea tree oil
Also known as melaleuca oil, tea tree is an essential oil that comes from steaming the leaves of the Australian tea tree. The oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a good choice for remedying foot fungus and other fungal infections. In one study, it was found that applying tea tree oil can relieve symptoms of athlete’s foot and eradicate the fungus that causes it within three weeks. To use tea tree oil for athlete’s foot, mix 25% coconut oil (which also has antibacterial properties) with 50% percent tea tree oil. Apply using a clean cotton pad to affected areas twice a day
Cornstarch will work to remedy athlete’s foot by helping to keep the impacted area dry and clean. When your feet are dry it is difficult for fungus to thrive and spread by controlling sweat and moisture. To use cornstarch for athlete’s foot, apply directly to dry feet every time before you put on socks.
Apple cider vinegar
Vinegar is somewhat acidic, which means that it can work well to balance the pH of the skin. It can also help prevent the fungus from spreading and kill bacteria and fungi. To use apple cider vinegar to squash fungus, mix equal parts vinegar and warm water and soak your feet for 30 minutes daily. Dry your feet thoroughly after soaking.
Vicks VapoRub can not only help relieve symptoms from a bad cough, but it is also a remedy for athlete’s foot. VapoRub contains eucalyptus oil and menthol, both of which have antifungal properties. To remedy athlete’s foot, rub Vicks on the affected area nightly, massaging it into your feet, and put socks on. Do this until the infection has disappeared.
Hydrogen peroxide is another inexpensive and easy to apply home fix for foot fungus on the surface level of the foot. In addition, hydrogen peroxide is also an effective way to kill any surface bacteria that could result in an infection. To use hydrogen peroxide for foot fungus, pour it directly on the affected area. Be careful, this may sting, and it will bubble when you put it on. Do this twice a day for fast relief.
How to prevent athlete’s foot
Of course, the best medicine is always prevention. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep your feet happy and healthy.
- Keep your feet dry: It is important to keep your feet dry, especially between your toes. Be sure to dry in between your toes carefully after every shower.
- Pay attention to your socks: If your feet get sweaty, be sure to change your socks often. Use only socks that are made from a natural material, such as cotton or wool, or any synthetic material that is designed to draw moisture away from the feet.
- Don’t wear the same shoes – Be sure to change your shoes regularly and avoid any shoes made from synthetic material including vinyl or rubber.
- Wear shoes in public places – If you are in public places such as pools, showers or locker rooms, be sure to cover your feet.
-The Alternative Daily