Athlete’s foot is a rash on the skin of the foot. It is the most common fungal skin infection. There are three main types of athlete’s foot. Each type affects different parts of the foot and may look different.
- Athlete’s foot is a common skin inflammation of the webs of the toes and soles of the feet.
- When caused by a fungus, athlete’s foot may spread to the palms, groin, and body.
- Fungal infections of the feet are contagious and can be spread person to person or by walking on contaminated objects and floors.
- Athlete’s foot may cause foot itching, burning, pain, and scaling.
- When athlete’s foot is caused by a fungus, it can be treated with antifungal medications, many of which are available over the counter.
- Keeping the feet dry by using cotton socks and breathable shoes can help prevent athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot most commonly affects the skin between the toes or on the bottom of the feet.
Affected areas of skin may be:
- dry, red, scaly and flaky
- white, soggy and cracked
- covered in small blisters
The infection can spread around your foot and to your toenails – read more about fungal nail infections. Scratching the infected skin and then touching other parts of your body can also spread the infection.
In severe cases, skin damaged by athlete’s foot can become infected with bacteria. This can lead to cellulitis, which causes the skin to become red, hot and swollen.
Athlete’s foot occurs when the tinea fungus grows on the feet. You can catch the fungus through direct contact with an infected person or by touching surfaces contaminated with the fungus. The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments and is commonly found in showers, on locker room floors, and around swimming pools.
You can usually treat athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) yourself at home by using nonprescription medicines and taking care of your feet. But if you have diabetes and develop athlete’s foot, or have persistent, severe, or recurrent infections, see your doctor.
Good foot care helps treat and prevent athlete’s foot.
- Keep your feet clean and dry.
- Dry between your toes after swimming or bathing.
- Wear shoes or sandals that allow your feet to breathe.
- When indoors, wear socks without shoes.
- Wear socks to absorb sweat. Change your socks twice a day.
- Use talcum or antifungal powder on your feet.
- Allow your shoes to air for at least 24 hours before you wear them again.
- Wear shower sandals in public pools and showers.
If you have athlete’s foot, dry your groin area before your feet after bathing. Also, put on your socks before your underwear. This can prevent fungi from spreading from your feet to your groin, which may cause jock itch.
Research has found that garlic has a compound called ajoene that acts as natural antifungal and antibacterial agent. You can add a clove or two to your food to speed up the healing process of any fungal infection including athlete’s foot. For topical treatment of the feet or other infected skin, try this home remedy
The acidic property of vinegar helps kill the fungus and lower the level of alkaline found on the skin, which will inhibit the infection from spreading rapidly. Vinegar also helps draw out extra moisture from your feet, which in turn speeds up the healing process.
Yogurt containing active bacterial cultures is very effective in fighting fungal infections like athlete’s foot. The live acidophilus bacteria present in plain yogurt helps keep fungal and bacterial infections in check. Buy plain yogurt with live, active cultures.
Salt is another effective home remedy for athlete’s foot. It helps kill the fungus that causes this kind of painful skin infection.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a potent antiseptic and also has antifungal properties that will help destroy the fungus and prevent it from spreading.
Tea bags can also be used to treat athlete’s foot. Tea contains tannic acid, which is a natural astringent that helps restrict fungal activity as well as helps keep the feet free of excess moisture.
Cinnamon is a reliable as well as effective remedy for athlete’s foot due to its antifungal and antiperspirant properties.
Olive leaf contains antifungal as well as antimicrobial properties that help kill the fungus that causes athlete’s foot.
Onion has antifungal, antibiotic as well as anti-inflammatory properties that help treat athlete’s foot. Onion can effectively kill the fungus and prevent it from spreading.
Baking soda can also be used to cure athlete’s foot. It helps get rid of moisture in the feet and neutralize the pH level of the skin.