Tinea pedis, or more commonly known as athlete's foot, is a fungal infection on the soles of the feet and is characterized by an itchy and sore rash. This disease is a type of ringworm and generally attacks in three main types, namely, fine scales on the toe (toe web), thickening of the skin throughout the sole of the foot (moccasin), or nodules (vesicular). This fungus likes to grow in moist and warm places so it thrives on the soles of the feet and shoes. While most home remedies may not be as strong as over-the-counter creams and powders, you can try some of them first before buying over-the-counter creams and powders if you have athlete's foot. However, if natural treatments don't work, you should visit your doctor for a prescription medication. Plus, prevention is always better than cure, so you'll also find some tips on preventing athlete's foot here.
Method 1 of 6: Recognizing Athlete's Foot Disease
Step 1. Watch for damp, pale skin
Athlete's foot disease comes in three main types. Toe web infections usually begin with skin that looks pale and moist. The affected skin usually feels itchy or sore and emits an unusual odor. This condition is usually fairly easy to treat.
- This type of infection usually starts from the ring finger and little finger on the foot.
- As the infection progresses, the skin between the toes may scaly, crack, or begin to peel. In severe cases, bacterial infection is also possible. This bacterial infection can spread to the lower legs if left unchecked and cause a condition called cellulitis.
- A toe web infection may also cause the skin to suddenly blister.
Step 2. Watch for blisters
Vesicular athlete's foot infection usually begins with the appearance of red, inflamed, fluid-filled skin bubbles, especially on the soles of the feet. This condition may be initiated by an untreated toe web infection. This type of infection can usually be treated at home.
- In more severe cases, bacterial infection is also possible.
- The palms of the hands, between the fingers, or other parts that come into contact with the soles of the feet may also blister.
Step 3. Watch for dry, scaly skin
Moccasin type athlete's foot causes the skin on the soles of the feet, especially the soles or heels, to become dry, irritated, and itchy. This type of athlete's foot can be chronic and very difficult to treat.
Another sign of moccasin athlete's foot is skin that feels sore, thickened, and cracked. In extreme cases, toenails can also become infected, thicken, break, or fall off. Fungal infections in your toenails should be treated separately
Method 2 of 6: Using a Vinegar Bath
Step 1. Wash feet
Always wash and dry your feet before trying this treatment. Clean your feet thoroughly with soap and warm water. Rinse and clean off any remaining soap afterward.
This vinegar solution works best when used with other treatments, such as tea tree oil. A vinegar bath alone may not treat athlete's foot, but it will help keep your feet dry. In addition, the vinegar bath will help kill bacteria and remove unpleasant odors
Step 2. Dry the feet
Make sure your feet are completely dry before giving any treatment. Try not to use a foot drying towel for other parts of the body.
Step 3. Mix vinegar and water
Pour 1 cup of vinegar into 4 cups of water. You can increase the volume of the solution, but maintain a 1:4 ratio of vinegar to water.
- This treatment may be beneficial for pregnant women with athlete's foot because it does not affect the fetus.
- You can also use a bleach solution to soak your feet. Pour cup of household bleach into a bathtub full of warm water. Do not use this bath if you are pregnant.
Step 4. Rinse the feet
Rinse your feet with a vinegar solution 2 times a day. Get rid of any remaining liquid when you're done. Only use the solution you need in one treatment. Do not reuse the solution that has been used.
Step 5. Dry the feet
Use a towel to dry your feet and then use another solution, such as tea tree oil.
Method 3 of 6: Using Tea Tree Oil
Step 1. Determine the correct rate
Treatment using 10% tea tree oil will indeed help with the symptoms of athlete's foot, but it may not completely cure it. You'll need 25-50% tea tree oil to treat a yeast infection, and even then, it may not have as strong an effect as over-the-counter antifungal medications.
- Tea tree oil can be used to treat the symptoms of athlete's foot, but is usually not effective at treating it.
- This oil may be more effective at treating toe web athlete's foot than other types.
- You can find the right cream or mix 1 or 2 parts pure 100% tea tree oil with 2 parts ethyl alcohol.
Step 2. Apply the oil to the cleansed feet
Rub the oil all over the soles of your feet, including the top, bottom, and sides. Don't forget to apply it between your toes. Mushrooms may be hidden in places you can't see.
Step 3. Wash your hands after applying the oil
Athlete's foot can spread to other parts of the body, so be sure to wash your hands after applying any treatment.
Step 4. Use 2 times a day
To be effective, you need to apply the oil in the morning and at night. In addition, you may also need to use this treatment for up to a month.
Method 4 of 6: Using Garlic
Step 1. Chop 3 to 4 cloves of garlic
Garlic is efficacious as a natural antiseptic that can help cure athlete's foot. One study showed that a commercial cream containing ajoene, the active ingredient in garlic, could treat athlete's foot as well as other creams. Some experts recommend adding minced garlic to a foot bath for the same results.
Step 2. Soak clean feet for 30 minutes
First of all, wash your feet and then soak them in the garlic solution.
Step 3. Dry the feet
Use a clean towel to dry your feet. Don't forget to dry between your toes.
Step 4. Mix the minced garlic with the olive oil
You can also make another treatment using garlic and a little olive oil. Mix 2 minced garlic cloves with a little olive oil to form a paste. Use a cotton swab to apply the paste to the clean foot all over the infected area. Continue this treatment for at least 1 month.
Garlic is usually safe. However, it may cause the skin to feel a little sore and emit a strong garlic odor
Method 5 of 6: Preventing Athlete's Foot Disease
Step 1. Treat skin moisture
If your feet sweat a lot, try to get them out of the air whenever possible by removing your socks and shoes. If you can't take your socks off, change them often, especially when they're wet with sweat.
Step 2. Wear shoes in public
When going to the gym, never go barefoot in the locker room or around the pool. Always protect your feet by wearing sandals or shower shoes.
Step 3. Keep your feet clean
Make sure to wash your feet frequently. Also, make sure to clean between your toes and dry them thoroughly. Wash your feet twice a day if you can.
Step 4. Don't lend your shoes
If other people are allowed to wear your shoes, the disease can be passed on to each other. Only wear your own shoes and don't lend them to others.
Likewise, don't lend out anything that comes into contact with your feet, such as nail care kits and towels
Step 5. Choose shoes and socks made from natural fibers
When buying shoes and socks, choose those that contain natural fibers as they tend to ventilate better than synthetic fibers. Also, choose shoes that have air cavities to help keep your feet dry.
Also make sure your shoes are not too tight as this can make your feet sweat more
Step 6. Change shoes regularly
To prevent mold growth, replace the insole of the shoe, or replace the shoe as a whole on a regular basis, for example every 6 months.
Step 7. Don't wear worn running shoes
Replace worn or damaged shoes that support the arch of the foot. Make sure the shoes can support the work of the foot and not hinder it.
Method 6 of 6: Seeking Medical Help
Step 1. See a doctor if your rash doesn't respond to home treatments
If you've been trying home remedies for more than 2 weeks but your athlete's foot isn't getting better, see your doctor. Doctors can prescribe topical antifungal medications or oral medications to help treat the infection.
- The doctor can also examine the condition of your feet and ask you to undergo tests if necessary to determine other causes of your symptoms.
- If you have a severe infection or your doctor suspects other problems, you may be referred to a podiatrist.
Step 2. See a doctor immediately if you have athlete's foot and diabetes
If you have diabetes, infectious diseases such as athlete's foot can lead to more serious problems if not treated properly. Do not try to treat athlete's foot on your own if you have diabetes. Immediately make an appointment with a doctor for treatment.
- You should see a doctor immediately, especially if you experience symptoms of a secondary infection such as redness and swelling around the affected area, festering sores, or fever.
- You should also seek immediate treatment for athlete's foot if you have a disease that affects your immune system (such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, or an autoimmune disorder) or are taking immune-suppressing drugs such as steroids or chemotherapy.
Step 3. Seek medical attention if athlete's foot becomes widespread
Athlete's foot disease that does not go away and is not treated can spread to other body parts such as nails, hands, and groin. In addition, you are also at risk of transmitting this disease to others. If your infection starts to spread, see your doctor to get it under control.
If it extends to the toenail, this infection will be difficult to treat. You may have to take antifungal medication or use a prescription cream to treat it
- If your athlete's foot doesn't improve, you should see your doctor for an oral antifungal medication.
- You can also find a holistic doctor who can grow mushrooms and determine natural ingredients to inhibit their growth.
- Natural remedies don't work for everyone. However, if you exercise regularly, eat healthy, and get into the habit of living a healthy life, you have a greater chance of curing this disease naturally.