Athlete’s foot, medically referred to as tinea pedis, is a very common fungal infection of the skin on the foot and may even spread to the palms, groin, and other areas of the body.
This infection is caused by a fungus called tinea pedis that loves to grow in moist, warm places—your feet, covered by socks and shoes, become an ideal breeding ground.
Some of the most prominent symptoms of athlete’s foot are excessive itching between the toes, burning sensation, blistering, peeling of the skin, dry skin and discoloration of the toenails.
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.
Men are more likely to develop athlete’s foot than women. The exact reason as to why this happens is not unknown as yet.
Like other fungal infections, athlete’s foot can spread from one person to another through contact with contaminated surfaces. It also can spread from one part of your body to another. So, it’s important to treat the infected area as soon as the problem appears.
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 the top 10 home remedies for athlete’s foot.
Research has found that garlic has a compound called ajoene that acts as natural antifungal and antibacterial agent. You can add a clove or two to your food to speed up the healing process of any fungal infection including athlete’s foot. For topical treatment of the feet or other infected skin, try this home remedy.
- Crush one garlic clove and add two or three drops of olive oil to make a paste.
- Apply the paste on the affected areas.
- Leave it on for half an hour.
- Then wash the area with water and an antifungal soap. Pat dry the skin thoroughly.
Repeat this remedy once every day for several weeks to treat an infection and prevent it from returning.
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.
- Prepare a foot soak by mixing one part of vinegar and three parts of warm water. Soak your feet in it for about 15 minutes once or twice a day. Dry your feet thoroughly after each soak. Repeat the process for about a week or until the infection is gone.
- Mix one cup each of water and vinegar. Wash the affected area with antiseptic soap and then dip a cotton ball in the vinegar mixture and apply it on the affected areas. Leave it on for 20 minutes.Then clean the area with a wet cloth and pat it dry. Follow this remedy twice daily for several weeks.
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. Buy plain yogurt with live, active cultures.
- Apply the yogurt on the affected area and allow it to dry on its own. Then rinse it off with lukewarm water and thoroughly pat dry the area. Follow this remedy twice daily for several weeks.
- Eat one cup of plain yogurt in the morning and in the evening. You can add two more cups of yogurt if your athlete’s foot is severe. Eat yogurt daily until the infection is gone completely.
Salt is another effective home remedy for athlete’s foot. It helps kill the fungus that causes this kind of 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.
Repeat this process four or five times daily until you notice improvement.
Note: This remedy must not be used if you have open sores or wounds on your feet.
5. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a potent antiseptic and also has antifungal properties that will help destroy the fungus and prevent it from spreading.
- Mix equal parts of 100 percent pure tea tree oil and olive oil. Rub the mixture on the affected area twice a day. Follow this remedy for several weeks to prevent recurrence of this annoying skin problem.
- Alternatively, mix three parts of tea tree oil and one part of aloe vera gel. Rub the mixture on the infected area twice a day for six to eight weeks.
Tea bags can also be used to treat athlete’s foot. 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.
- Steep five tea bags (preferably, black tea bags) in four cups of boiling water for five minutes. You can use any variety of tea except herbal teas.
- Allow the water to cool.
- Soak your feet in the tea bath for half an hour. Dry your feet thoroughly.
Repeat twice daily for five to six weeks.