Apparently the name “athlete’s foot” comes courtesy of an advertising man who was dreaming up some kind of advertising campaign in the 1930s!
Heaven knows what it might have been, because this infection has nothing directly to do with being an athlete.
In fact, athlete’s foot, or Tinea pedis, as it’s medically known, is a fungal infection caused by the Trichophyton fungus species. It causes redness, scaling, cracking and itching of the skin of the feet (sometimes the hands).
It can also affect the scalp or other parts of the body, and it sometimes appears as what we know as ”jock itch” (although this can also be caused by Candida albicans).
Tinea pedis – which is also known as ringworm – is the most common skin infection, or lease the most common skin infection caused by a fungus.
And it’s actually more common in men than women, which probably reflects the kind of footwear that men and women wear. (Men, hot and sweaty shoes; women less so, yes?) This fungus thrives in the moist environment found in locker rooms and other such places.
Tinea pedis, i.e. athlete’s foot, is a very common fungal infection that most people have on their skin, although it is usually kept in check by the immune system and by other skin bacteria.
When it overgrows, and starts to cause problems, you might reasonably ask, can it be treated with a yeast infection home remedy?
What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
Only when skin is weakened, or it’s damp for much of the time, or the immune system is weakened, or something else compromises a person’s health, is it possible for athlete’s foot to spread out of control.
This can happen when someone is taking antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills, drugs to suppress immune function, and other medications, or perhaps when moist warm conditions have been affecting the natural environment of the feet for some time.
We’ve spent a lot of time on this website talking about home remedies for yeast infection, particularly in the form of Yeast Infection No More, and an obvious question is whether or not there are home remedies for yeast infection caused by the Trichophyton fungus, be it athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm on the skin, or ringworm on the scalp.
Video on athlete’s foot
At least athlete’s foot is generally not a troubling condition, only causing minor cracking and flaky skin, but it can sometimes causes blisters, and perhaps even cracks in the soles of the feet or between the toes. These can be very painful, and can cause secondary infection.
If the fungal infection affects the nails, then it’s much more difficult to get rid of, and prolonged treatment may be necessary. Certainly in this case, yeast infection home remedies are unlikely to work.
Could Vick’s Vapour Rub be a great home remedy for Tinea pedis?
Clearly this is a case where prevention is better than cure, and interestingly enough, most of the preventive measures you can take against athlete’s foot do include one or more forms of home remedy for yeast infection. That’s especially true around things like diet.
However, I want to emphasize the point that infection with athlete’s foot is not the same as infection with Candida albicans, so the home remedies that you might want to apply are somewhat different.
So, as you might expect, there’s a home remedy for yeast infections as there is for so much else!
Some of them are simple precautions. To start with, athlete’s foot is passed on by contact with an infected person, or by touching a surface where the fungal spores are lying in wait, such as the moist environment of the locker rooms. So be careful not to spread the spores around!
Home remedy treatments for fungal infection
- Good hygiene measures. For example, it’s bad practice to touch an area infected with athlete’s foot and then touch any other part of your body. This can transmit the infection from one area to another.
- Since fungal spores can easily infect you, so it makes sense to avoid sharing towels or other linens and clothing.
- It makes sense to wash of socks in extra hot water to kill fungal spores, and wear them for a limited period of time.
- It makes sense to wear some kind of flip-flop or thong shoes in public showers and locker rooms.
- And most of all, perhaps, it’s necessary to maintain good shoe and feet hygiene, keeping your feet dry and clean.
So you can easily treat athlete’s foot at home, by using these and other home remedies for fungal infection. But note that these are not necessarily yeast infections, so Yeast Infection No More may not work for you here.
The key thing is that since the fungus which causes athlete’s foot fungus enjoys a moist, warm environment, keeping the vulnerable areas of your body dry and exposing them to the air is in itself a natural home remedy.
And so is good hygiene: wash your feet twice a day with soap and water and dry thoroughly to keep infection risk to a minimum.
There are plenty of aerosol preparations that you can use for spraying shoes containing fungal spores.
Get a couple of pairs of shoes, and alternate them, so you can spray an anti-fungal product into one pair while you wear the others. This will minimize the chance of fungal spores re-infecting your feet.
You can also treat your feet with over-the-counter antifungal preparations. (Yes, sometimes fungal infection home remedies for athlete’s foot need a little help!)
If the anti-fungal product comes in powder form, it can be useful in helping to absorb moisture, although creams may be more effective.
There are various preparations available under a variety of trade names such as Tinaction, which contains tolnaftate, and Micatin, which contains miconazole.
It’s important to keep using these preparations for a while after the symptoms have disappeared. This will ensure that the fungus and all residual spores are destroyed.
If you develop redness and soreness between your toes, which suggests that the skin is being invaded by bacterial infection, you can also use Betadine solution to soak your feet each day. After soaking, dry off thoroughly and apply antifungal medication.
(By the way, if you come across any home remedies for fungal infection that suggest using bleach, avoid them like the plague. The same is true for any other home remedies involving powerful chemical solvents that are not medically approved. You will not find anything like this in Yeast Infection No More!)
- The choice of shoes that you work in also be important. You should aim to wear open-toed sandals as much as possible to ensure that your shoes are given the chance to “breathe”.
- If you have to wear closed shoes, ensure that you take them off regularly, don’t wear them for days at a time, and make sure they have some degree of permeability — leather is a good choice.
- Don’t share or swap shoes with anyone else, and when it comes to your socks, exercise the same precautions. In other words, use cotton or wool socks which will help absorb perspiration and keep your feet dry.
- Some people suggest you could use a pair of acrylic socks because they “wick” moisture away from the feet. Whether or not that’s true, changing socks two or three times a day is always good idea.
Home remedies for athletes foot
Home remedies for the fungal infection that causes athlete’s foot can be very effective, though they’re mostly just common sense.
Here are some more simple home remedies:
- Sprinkle baking soda into your shoes to absorb moisture; this will also have an impact on any odor due to stale sweat.
- Use slightly browned cornstarch to absorb moisture on your feet. You brown it in the oven at 325° for just a few minutes, so as to drive out any moisture in the starch and give it greater absorption capacity when you put it on your feet (best to sprinkle it in your socks).
- Garlic is a useful antifungal agent, and a well-known home remedy for fungal infection. You can eat it, take a garlic supplement, or spread a crushed clove of garlic mixed with olive oil to make a paste, on your feet for up to 30 minutes. Clearly there might be a disadvantage to this home remedy for fungal infection because you might end up smelling of garlic. Nonetheless, garlic is a very powerful antifungal agent.
- Adopt a diet designed to improve the effectiveness of your immune system. Such a diet can be found in “Yeast Infection No More”, which is advertised in the right-hand column of this page. Although this is not specifically a diet designed to ward off athlete’s foot, it is a proven home remedy for yeast infection, and well worth investigating if you persistently suffering from athlete’s foot.
- Lemon juice is a powerful antifungal agent: squeeze the juice into a little water and rinse your feet with this every day. You should find an improvement quite rapidly! But don’t try this if your skin is cracked and weeping, because lemon juice can be quite painful to broken skin and the underlying tissue.
- Vinegar is also a useful remedy for fungal infection. You can soak your feet in a mixture of vinegar and water — this doesn’t have to be precise, about 1 cup of vinegar and 2 quarts of water should do. Soak your feet in this mixture for between 20 and 30 minutes every night. Once again, this will sting if the infection is severe and has produced open wounds or weeping skin.
- Make sure that your feet are completely dry before you put on your socks. Yes, I know we mentioned that home remedy above, but it is important!
- Cider vinegar is also useful home remedy for yeast infection. You can apply this directly to the skin, or mixed with little water.
- It’s been said that the tannin in tea can help kill the fungus. I haven’t heard of this home remedy before, but it’s worth a try! My guess is that you would need to use concentrated tea, perhaps as many as 6 black tea bags in a couple of pints of water. Allowing the tea to cool, then soak your feet in the resultant solution. You may of course find your feet change color with the tannin, so this is perhaps a home remedy that you might want to use with caution!
- A simple salt bath is also a helpful remedy for use at home: you simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and then soak your infected foot in the warm salt water. After drying your foot thoroughly, you can use baking soda to absorb any residual sweat or other moisture.
- Please remember that if any infection is serious, then you certainly need to see a doctor.
This would be the case if you have cracks between your toes, your athlete’s foot does NOT start to clear up in response to any kind of treatment, whether that’s home remedies or over-the-counter medications, within two or three weeks.
Also if you have eczema, psoriasis, or some other skin condition, or if your athlete’s foot gets worse, you need to see a doctor.
Clearly if you are getting symptoms such as progressive fungal infection in your toenails, or the fungus has spread to other parts of your body, or your feet are swollen, secreting pus, or painful, please see a doctor.