Athlete’s foot (Tinea Pedis) is a fungal infection. It can itch, burn, sting and make redness appear around the feet. It is a common issue and is contagious in swimming pools, locker rooms and in some health clubs or changing rooms, so wearing footwear in these areas is advised. Contact with wet floors, shoes, and socks can spread the infection. Here are some ways to help cure athlete's foot at home.
Athlete's foot needs to be treated accordingly and medication can be bought over the counter or, if symptoms persist, visit your doctor. It is important to understand that prevention is key, to ensure the feet and in-between the toes are adequately dried and footwear is also dry to allow the reduction of moisture.
Here are the most common athlete's foot home remedies that may aid recovery from the infection.
Rubbing cornstarch into your feet absorbs moisture and takes away the environment that athlete's foot becomes prevalent in. That is why keeping your feet dry is essential. Applying cornstarch is effective at removing moisture so can help prevent athlete's foot.
Tea Tree Oil
Soaking your feet in a footbath with drops of tea tree oil added can be beneficial for athlete’s foot. The tea tree oil has ingredients that work against the fungus and prevent it from spreading further. When you remove your feet from the warm footbath make sure you dry them fully and appropriately. In some cases, people have seen benefits from using tea bags that have been in boiling water for 5 minutes and added to a footbath where the feet are then soaked. This is due to tannic acid being present in tea bags which helps dry the feet out, which in turn reduces the fungal infection.
Sesame Oil / Coconut Oil
Both of these can be applied to reduce fungal infections. They can be applied to the feet and allowed to dry when small measures are applied. The properties of both of these deter and fight against the fungal infection.
The acidity of vinegar stops the fungal infection due to the environment it creates. Cider vinegar is of particular benefit in this instance and, like the above, you can soak your feet in this. Once you soak your feet in a small cup full mixed with warm water make sure the feet are dried appropriately to stop the moisture.
Salt or Bicarbonate of Soda
Salt added with warm water and soaked can stop peeling on the skin of the feet when there is a fungal infection and help reduce the spread. The feet should be allowed to soak for 10 minutes and then dried appropriately. Bicarbonate of Soda can be added with a small amount of water and applied as a paste to the feet. It is important to wash your hands following this as you may have touched the fungal infection, which can also spread to other areas of the body Make sure the feet are rinsed and dried post the application of the paste after allowing it to be absorbed for a few minutes. It may even be worth sprinkling some soda in your shoes to absorb the moisture.
Povidone-iodine (PVPI) / Betadine
This is a chemical and should not be used if pregnant. Caution should be taken with this but it is often used for wounds and infections. Soaking your feet in this chemical in a warm footbath treats the fungal infection directly and again, post application, the feet should be dried sufficiently. This can be applied twice a day to help remove the fungus.
Wash and Dry
Simply washing and drying appropriately and regularly, especially if your feet sweat, will stop the fungal infection from festering in conditions that it likes. The towel used should also be washed and changed after use and all moisture removed from the feet. Talcum powder can then also be applied to reduce the moisture. It may even be appropriate to wear flip-flops or go barefoot to allow the foot to breathe. A use of a hairdryer can also be effective to dry the foot following the use of soap and water.
These athlete's foot home remedies have been shown to work and people have advocated ginger, garlic, and hydrogen peroxide among others to combat the condition. Prevention should always be paramount, either to stop the infection in the first place or to reduce the conditions and environment that allow for growth. If symptoms persist and a home remedy is not sufficient then seek medical advice.