What is Athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot, or “tinea pedis”, is a kind of contagious fungal infection that affects the upper layer of the skin of the foot. It results in flaking, itching, and scaling on the affected areas. It is caused by fungi, such as Epidermophyton floccosum, Trichophyton rubrum or Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Signs and Symptoms
The following signs will make it pretty evident that you are suffering from Athlete’s foot.
- Scaly and flaky skin
- Whitening and softening of the skin between the toes
- Soreness, fissuring, wearing down and crusting of the skin of the feet
- Burning, stinging and itching between your toes and soles of your feet
- Vesicles and itchy blisters on the sole of the feet
- Excessive dry skin
- Redness of the feet
- Discolored, ragged and thick toenails
- In severe conditions, bleeding from the cracked skin may also occur
Causes of Athlete’s Foot
The main cause of athlete’s foot is a fungal infection. Secondary reasons are:
- Damp socks
- Tight shoes
- Humid conditions
- Skin-to-skin contact with the infected person
- Sharing of shoes, socks, towels, bed sheets and clothing with the infected person
- Weak immune system
Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot
How to cure Athlete’s foot fast at home? Is there any natural remedy for treating Athlete’s foot? Well, yes! Several natural remedies are available that you can easily apply at home for treating this ailment.
1. Baking Soda (soda bicarbonate)
To treat athlete’s foot at home naturally, make a paste of one tablespoon of baking soda mixed with an adequate amount of water. Apply it directly on the affected area and rinse it off after a few minutes. Finish off the procedure by dusting the affected area with talcum powder.
2. Foot Soak
Soak your foot for at least 10-15 minutes in warm water mixed with salt to get rid of athlete’s foot. Repeat the procedure every day until the infection gets completely healed.
3. Mustard Oil
Mustard kills fungus fast. Soaking of foot in mustard powder or direct application of mustard oil is helpful in curing athlete’s foot.
The tannic acid present in ordinary tea is helpful in drying out sweaty feet fast. Steep at least five tea bags in boiling water and soak your foot (once the water is lukewarm) for a few minutes.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
Direct application of apple cider vinegar on the affected area is a helpful remedy for athlete’s foot. If not ACV, mix 1 cup of vinegar with 2 quarts water. Soak your foot in this solution for 20-30 minutes.
Hair spray, garlic powder, or honey can also be applied on the athlete’s foot as they are also some best cures for athlete’s foot.
6. Plain Yogurt
Plain yogurt contains acidophilus bacteria, which checks the fungus. Simply apply the plain yogurt on the contaminated area and rinse off, when it gets dry.
Some studies have proved that a person’s own saliva is helpful in curing various skin troubles. It is also helpful in curing athlete’s foot as well.
8. Tea Tree Oil
Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with olive oil and apply it on the infected area. Olive oil tenderises the skin and helps tea tree oil to get absorbed better.
Tea tree oil can also be mixed with aloe vera gel to treat athlete’s foot.
9. Lavender Oil
Besides divine fragrance, lavender oil has anti-fungal properties. Mix a few drops of lavender oil with some carrier oil, like olive or jojoba oil, and apply it on the athlete’s foot.
Calendula has been regarded as one of the best cures for skin troubles since ages. Calendula ointments are easily available on pharmacies, which can be applied on the infected area.
11. Corn Starch
Take some corn starch and apply on the affected foot with the help of cotton. Wash after fifteen minutes to get rid of athlete’s foot.
12. Vodka Mix
Make a mix of one cup of vodka, 3 tsp powdered cloves, 25 garlic cloves (pounded), and 3 tsp grounded cinnamon. Shake the mixture well and store in a jar. Simply apply the solution with the help of cotton, whenever needed.
13. Grapefruit Extracts
Add one tablespoon of grapefruit extract in one gallon of warm water, and soak your foot in it for 15-20 minutes.
Take a lemon and extract its juice. Add 2 ounces of water to it. Wash your feet with this lemon water. It will remove sweaty odour from your foot while giving relief in Athlete’s foot.
Take 8-10 broken cinnamon sticks and boil them in 4 cups of water. Simmer it for 4-5 minutes. Then, steep it for next 40-45 minutes. Immerse your feet in this water for at least ½ hour. Practise it daily until you get complete relief.
Preventive Measures for Athlete’s Foot
Excellent foot care helps in curing and preventing athlete's foot fast.
- Keep your feet unsoiled and dry.
- When at home, put on socks to keep the feet clean, and change them twice a day.
- Dry the area between your toes after bathing or swimming.
- Wear leather shoes or sandals to allow your feet to breathe.
- Wear socks made of cotton to soak up sweat.
- Use anti-fungal talcum powder to prevent feet from developing athlete’s foot.
- Do not share towels, socks and shoes with an infected person.
- Wash your feet thoroughly with soap and water to keep them clean.
- Don’t walk barefoot in damp places. While using spas or public pools, wear water shoes or sandals.