Athlete’s foot, also called ‘tinea pedis’ is a fungal infection of the toes. People whose feet are very sweaty usually develop this disease as their feet are wrapped with tight fitting and fully covered footwear.
An itching, burning and stinging feeling of the scaly rash formed on the skin is characterized(1) as Athlete’s foot. It is contagious and spreads easily through used towels and other clothing.
Athlete’s foot is just like any other fungal infections like jock itch or ringworm.
There are many natural remedies for treating the infection and also to prevent its recurrence. Let’s know what are they and how to use them.
Did You Know?
1. Athlete’s foot is caused by Trichophyton fungus
2. You can cure Athlete’s foot with a lot many home remedies
3. Athlete’s foot is caused on hands too, and it’s called Tinea manuum
4. Athlete’s foot can also be caused by pets!
CURE 1: Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
There are many foods which are quite effective in treating athlete’s foot right at home(2). Below are some of the most effective home remedies.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Apple cider vinegar is believed to have a number of medicinal properties. It is considered as one of the most effective treatment options against fungal and yeast infections. This makes it fall under the list of foods to treat Athlete’s foot at home.
How to use
- ½ cup of apple cider vinegar
- 2 Cups of distilled water
Procedure No 1
- Add apple cider vinegar and distilled water into a flat container and mix well.
- Mix well
- Soak your feet in the solution for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Procedure No 2
You can soak a clean cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the affected areas of the feet. If this stings, dilute it with water and apply.
[Also Read: Apple Cider Vinegar for Athlete’s Foot]
2. Coconut Oil for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Coconut oil has anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Coconut oil offers extensive health benefits for the body’s overall health. It contains lauric acid and caprylic acid which stop the growth of fungal cells by killing them.
How to use
- Organic virgin coconut oil
- A small vessel
- Take organic virgin coconut oil in a small vessel.
- Warm it a little.
- Apply directly on to the affected areas of the skin.
- Massage it gently
- Allow the oil to be absorbed in the skin
The saturated fats in coconut oil fight against a wide variety of pathogens and thus boosts the immune system functioning. The medium chain fatty acids present in coconut oil work very effectively against fungi, bacteria, virus, and protozoa.
How much to use:
Repeat the above process 2 to 3 times a day
[Read: Coconut Oil for Athlete’s Foot ]
3. (Sodium bicarbonate) Baking soda for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is known to possess the ability to absorb moisture and bad odors. It also kills the virus and bacteria causing infection.
How to use
- 1/2 bucket of warm water
- 1/2 cup of baking soda
- Take a bucket half filled with warm water
- Add half a cup of baking soda to it
- Mix well
- Soak your feet into the solution
- Let your feet be there for 15 to 20 minutes
- Do not rinse the feet, just dry them
How many times:
Perform the above procedure 2 times a day. You can also add 2 tablespoons of coconut oil to the solution.
Baking soda softens the callus and also cleans the toenails. It helps in removing dead skin cells. Its antibacterial properties keep infections at bay.
4. Epsom Salt Foot Soak for Athlete’s Foot
Epsom Salt reduces inflammation by removing toxins from the body. This adds to foot health. Research proved that Epsom Salt reduces pain(3), promotes healing, treats many kinds of fungal and bacterial infections and eliminates body odor.
How to Use Epsom Salt for Athlete’s Foot
- ½ bucket of warm water
- ½ cup Epsom Salt
- Take half a bucket with warm water.
- Add ½ cup Epsom Salt to it and mix well.
- Soak your feet in the solution for about an hour.
- Do this twice in a week.
- You can also add 2 to 3 drops of diluted essential oils to the foot soak.
- Apply a moisturizer after the foot soak is done.
The sulfate and magnesium present in Epsom Salt dissolve easily and are absorbed into the skin. By removing toxins from the body, Epsom Salt paves way for sulfates and magnesium to enter the bloodstream, which in turn promotes body energy production, inflammation reduction, and better muscle function.
[Read: Epsom Salt for Athlete’s Foot]
5. Garlic for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Garlic is a very popular home remedy for treating many kinds of ailments. It is considered to possess natural antiseptic properties. It is also used in many products of skin and hair care.
How to Use
- 3-4 Fresh Crushed or garlic paste
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- Take the garlic paste in a small vessel
- Add a tablespoon of coconut oil to it
- Mix well till it becomes a consistent mixture
- Rub this on the affected area of the feet
You can even use this paste as a foot soak by adding half a bucket of lukewarm water and soaking your feet in it.
How many times to use: Use this remedy as to a foot soak or for topical application twice a day.
Garlic is an antifungal and antibacterial agent which makes it very effective against any kind of foot infections. Ajoene, which is found in garlic is a perfect remedy when applied topically to treat Athlete’s foot.
CURE 2: How To Cure Athlete’s Foot with Foods
1. Vegetables to eat (Antifungal properties)
Eating certain vegetables can protect against fungal infections as they have antifungal properties. These include
Foods to Avoid
All foods with starch content should be avoided. These include corn, Sweet Potatoes, and carrots.
White nectarines fruits like Banana, White Peaches, Dates, Brown Pears are all fruits which act against fungal infections. Fruits like Oranges, Kiwi, and grapefruits are believed to reduce inflammation of the skin which is caused by fungal infections.
3. Other foods to consider
Gluten-Free Whole Grains
Gluten-free whole grains that contain Vitamin B, Iron, Selenium, and fiber are good to be considered. Long grained brown rice, gluten-free cereals, and steel cut oats are also good for fighting against fungal infections.
Rye, Barley, wheat and White bread should be avoided.
Cayenne Pepper offers immune and digestive support. It increases circulation and metabolism which in turn clears off fungal infections of the body.
According to the Department of Dermatology and Venereology, Faculty of Medicine, Tanta University, Egypt, bitter orange is one such food that acts effectively against fungal infections.
This is a natural fungal fighter. In addition to fighting against Athlete’s foot, this fruit is one of the perfect remedies to other ailments like jock itch and ringworm.
Observations also confirmed that application of water mixed with bitter orange oil 3 times a day, completely cleared fungal infections.
CURE 3: Essential Oils For Athlete’s Foot
Essential oils have been used for treating many body conditions because they offer many benefits(4). The antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties of these essential oils help in treating various infections caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungus.
Let’s see how can these essential oils be used in treating Athlete’s foot.
1. Tea Tree Essential Oil for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Tea tree oil is the product from the distillation of the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia plant grown in Australia.
How to Use
- Tea tree essential Oil
- Carrier oil (Castor Oil, Coconut oil, or Pure Virgin Olive Oil
- A small pack of cotton balls
- Cotton socks (Clean pair)
- Put 5 drops of carrier oil on a cotton ball.
- Put 5 drops of tea tree essential oil on the same cotton ball.
- Rub the cotton ball on the affected areas of the skin on the feet.
- Wear clean cotton socks on both feet. Do this twice daily and see considerable relief
This oil has antiviral, antifungal anti-inflammatory properties which prove it to be one of the effective treatments for Athlete’s foot. Because it is rich in terpinen-4-ol, it is a perfect inflammation reliever.
2. Peppermint Oil and Oregano oil for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
This home remedy which is a mixture of different oils can be used to potentially treat the symptoms of Athlete’s foot sitting right at home.
How to Use
- A bowl
- 5 tablespoons oregano oil
- One drop of tea tree oil
- One drop lavender oil
- Two drops lemon oil
- Two drops peppermint oil
- Two drops eucalyptus oil.
- Take 5 tablespoons of coconut oil in the bowl
- Add 1 drop of tea tree oil and 1 drop of lavender oil
- Add 2 drops each of Lemon Oil, Peppermint oil and Eucalyptus Oil
- Mix all the ingredients well
- Apply it on to the affected area of the skin.
- Let it stay there so that the skin absorbs the oil
- Wear socks and leave it all night
Peppermint oil has skin toning, softening anti-inflammatory properties which boost the skin’s health. It also has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties which act against infections of the skin.
Oregano oil is a natural antibiotic and a powerful antioxidant which works wonderfully against fungal infections.
It is good to perform a skin patch test before using it to check for any allergies.
3. Lavender Essential Oil for Athlete’s Foot Treatment
Lavender essential oil keeps the skin healthy, it has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and regenerative properties. As athlete’s foot causes skin burn, it works effectively by providing a soothing effect on the skin.
How to Use
- 1 cup distilled water
- 10 drops of lavender essential oil
- 7 drops of tea tree oil
- Clean empty spray bottle
- Take a cup of distilled water.
- Add 10 drops of lavender essential oil to it.
- Add 7 drops of tea tree oil and mix well
- Mix Well
- Transfer the solution to a clean spray bottle
- Use this to spray on your feet just before wearing your socks or just after a shower.
Lavender essential oil acts as a perfect disinfectant for the skin fights against infections, enhances blood circulation and also keeps the feet dry.
4. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is an effective remedy in treating skin ailments as it acts as an astringent. It has antiseptic properties that can treat pimples and other skin problems as it gets rid of excess oil of the skin. Lemon essential oil refreshes the mind and helps in calming down mental fatigue, dizziness, exhaustion, and anxiety.
It is rich in Vitamin C that boosts the immune system. It also improves blood circulation and clears nasal passage on being inhaled. Thus promoting steady breathing and proper air flow.
How to use
- 10 drops of lemon essential oil
- 10 drops of olive oil
- 1 liter of warm water
- A foot basin
- Pour 1 liter of warm water into a basin
- Add 10 drops of lemon essential oil to it
- Add 10 drops of olive oil
- Stir well
Soak your feet in the solution for about 20 to 30 minutes. After soaking, pat your feet dry.
How many times:
Do this once every night before going to bed.
5. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is an effective remedy for infections caused by toenail fungus, ringworm, jock itch, and cold sores. It reduces the inflammation that arises out of these conditions.
[Also Read: Natural Treatments For Toenail Fungus]
How to use
- 2 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon eucalyptus essential oil
- A clean and dry spray bottle
- Take 2 cups of water in a container
- Add 1 tablespoon of eucalyptus essential oil to it and mix well
- Transfer this solution to the sprayer
Spray on your feet every day before going to bed. You can also spray them inside your shoes.
6. Thieves Oil For Athlete’s Foot
Thieves oil has various uses like supporting healthy immune function, washing bacteria, fungus on the skin.
How To Use
- 4 drops of thieves oil
- Clean and dry cotton ball
- Add 4 drops of thieves to a clean and dry cotton ball.
- Use this and apply directly to the affected area.
- Let the oil stay for at least 20 minutes.
How many times: You can apply this to the affected area 1 to 2 times a day. You can also add 2 drops of thieves oil to a cup of warm water and drink it.
Thieves oil consumption improves immunity, and its application to the infected area will help to keep the area clean. It is one of the best remedies for treating athlete’s foot.
CURE 4: Hair dryer and talcum powder
The fungus needs moisture to thrive and develop on. If you can keep your feet free from moisture, you can control the development of fungus.
A very easy and handy way to keep feet free from moisture is to dry your feet with a hair dryer just after a shower. You can use this method to dry between fingers too.
After you have dried your feet with the dryer, sprinkle some talcum powder on them as this absorbs the sweat.
Tips to take better care of your feet
Hygiene practices like the below-mentioned points should be followed to prevent the recurrence of Athlete’s foot.
- To a possible extent, keep your feet dry
- Wipe between toes right after a shower
- If you feel that your feet have become sweaty, remove your shoes off and either expose your feet to air or wipe them with a clean towel.
- Always use washed and clean socks.
- Change your socks often.
- Choose footwear that has good ventilation.
- Wear shoes with good ventilation.
- Refrain from sharing footwear.
- Don’t prick or scratch your foot
- Do not walk barefoot in public places
People with health conditions like diabetes should consult a doctor before using home remedies because even minor wounds and cracks can become complicated for them to deal with.
Those who have Athlete’s foot cannot afford to venture barefoot at the beach. You can use ‘over-the-counter Antifungal cream if natural remedies fail to work.
1. How long does it take to get rid of Athlete’s foot?
The treatment varies depending on the remedy and can typically range between 7 to 25 days. Symptoms like soreness and itching come down within 7 days of treatment. It is good to consult a doctor if the symptoms do not subdue within 7 days.
2. How do you get rid of athlete’s foot fast?
Using antifungal sprays and creams is an effective way to treat this situation. Even though the infection comes down, it is good to continue the treatment to save yourself from falling prey to the recurring ailments. Let your feet be exposed to maximum air. Wearing synthetic socks is another best option for people who cannot go barefoot as they pull away moisture.
3. Is the athlete’s foot contagious?
Yes, it is a fungal infection that is contagious, though not all fungal infections are.