Written by Alison Mooradian
Tuesday, 18 April 2017
Natural Remedies for Athlete’s Foot
Despite the name, athlete’s foot does not just affect athletes. Can natural remedies soothe the uncomfortable symptoms this condition causes?
Athlete’s foot is a rash on the foot and is the most common type of fungal skin infection. It usually begins between the toes, since fungi thrive in wet, warm areas. It tends to develop if one’s feet are sweaty and confined in tight shoes that don’t allow the air around one’s feet to move. It can also spread extremely easily. Most people contract athlete’s foot by walking around barefoot at contaminated swimming pools and locker rooms.1
Some people are more likely than others to get athlete’s foot, and if you touch something contaminated, you can still pass the infection on to others even if you don’t get it yourself. Once you get athlete’s foot, you are more likely to get it again.2 It’s also important to know that athlete’s foot can spread to other parts of your body, such as your hands, toenails, or groin (also known as “jock itch”). This is because the infection can spread from touching your hands or towel to other parts of your body.3
Common symptoms include burning and/or itching sensations on your feet and the skin of your feet peeling and/or cracking. There are three types of athlete’s foot: 4
Toe web infection – The skin between the fourth and fifth toes (usually) peels and cracks.
- Moccasin infection – Usually begins by your feet feeling sore and the skin on your heel becoming thick and cracking. Sometimes the toenails can also become infected.
- Vesicular infection – Usually begins with blisters forming on the bottom of your feet.
Suffice to say, none of these symptoms are very fun to deal with. The best way to deal with athlete’s foot is to take preventative steps to avoid contracting it in the first place. Some tips for avoiding athlete’s foot include:5
If the unfortunate incidence of getting athlete’s foot occurs, here are some tips to help relieve your symptoms:
- Wash your towels if they’ve been used in a public place.
- Wear shoes in wet, public places (including wearing flip flops in public showers).
- When you get out of the shower, bath, pool, ocean, etc., make sure you dry your feet off well.
To cut down the chance that the infection will come back, here are some tips:
- When possible, wear sandals or open-toed shoes. This will keep your feet drier and help the infection heal faster.6
- Alternate which shoes you wear every day to give shoes a day off to dry out. If you have especially sweaty feet, change your shoes multiple times per day.7
- Plain yogurt contains acidophilus bacteria, which helps fight the fungus that causes athlete’s foot. Cover the infected area with yogurt, wait until the yogurt dries, and then rinse it off and dry your foot thoroughly.8
- Similarly, baking soda can also be a fungi-fighting agent. You can sprinkle baking soda in your shoes after wearing them and also make a paste (made of baking soda and water) to put on the infected area.9
- Apple cider vinegar is known for being effective for helping mild athlete’s foot. You can either soak your feet in apple cider vinegar (diluted with water) or apply apple cider vinegar directly to the infection (this may sting).10
- One factor that makes people more susceptible to athlete’s foot is a weak immune system. To help your immune system fight off infection, try a probiotic supplement to balance your gut bacteria.11 For particularly aggressive infections that just won’t go away, it may be worth finding an acupuncturist to help treat underlying susceptibility factors.
- Use anti-fungal essential oils diluted in coconut oil (also anti-fungal). A rule of thumb is 3-5 drops of essential oil per one teaspoon of carrier oil. Essential oil options include tea tree, lavender, oregano, thyme, geranium, and clove.12
- Cornstarch is great at absorbing moisture. To help dry out your feet, preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread ˝ cup of cornstarch on a baking sheet. Bake for a few minutes, until the cornstarch turns a light brown color. This process sucks any remaining moisture out of the cornstarch. Rub the cornstarch on your feet and leave on for 5-10 minutes. Then brush off the cornstarch with a clean towel. Wash your hands afterwards and put the towel in the wash on the highest heat setting.13
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- Throw out infected socks and towels.14
- If you want to try to disinfect contaminated socks and towels, add anti-fungal essential oils, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide to the wash cycle and wash it on the hottest setting on the washing machine.15
- Stick your shoes in the freezer for 24 hours to try to kill the fungus.16
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Last Updated ( Monday, 17 April 2017 )