How To Get Rid Of Athlete’s Foot

Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread through direct contact with skin particles left on floors, towels, clothing, or shoes. That’s why it’s synonymous with gym locker rooms and communal showers.

Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot

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You may be able to treat athlete’s foot with over-the-counter products and items in your medicine cabinet, including certain oils and talcum powder.

Athlete’s foot, also known as tinea pedis, is a fungal skin infection that typically starts between the toes. It causes a scaly, itchy rash that may have painful or burning sensations. In some cases, people may also experience ulcers or blisters, which can be very painful.

Fortunately, athlete’s foot can be extremely receptive to home treatment. Here are 10 home treatments that are known to be effective.

There are a number of over-the-counter (OTC) treatments available for athlete’s foot. These can come as powders, sprays, ointments, and lotions. Many cases of athlete’s foot respond well to OTC treatments and may never require other options.

You can apply these treatments directly to the affected area and use them for at least 1 week after symptoms resolve to prevent the infection from immediately returning.

Hydrogen peroxide can effectively kill the fungus on the surface level of the foot, as well as any surface bacteria that could cause an infection.

Pour hydrogen peroxide directly onto the affected area. Note that it may sting, and it should bubble, especially if you have open wounds. Do this twice daily until the infection subsides.

Tea tree oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which is part of the reason it’s commonly used to treat many fungal infections (including both ringworm and candidiasis).

One 2002 study found that applying tea tree oil daily could treat both the symptoms of athlete’s foot and the fungus that causes it within a few weeks.

To treat athlete’s foot, mix a carrier oil like warm coconut oil with tea tree oil for a concentration of 25 to 50 percent tea tree oil. Apply it to the affected area two times a day.

Both neem oil and neem leaf extracts have incredible antifungal capabilities that can help fight athlete’s foot. You can apply the neem oil (or extract) directly to the affected area two to three times a day, massaging it into the skin. This can also be helpful for treating infections that develop under the toenails.

Much like hydrogen peroxide, many families will have rubbing alcohol on hand to clean cuts. Like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol can help kill off the fungus that’s on the surface level of the skin.

You can apply it directly to the affected area or soak your feet in a footbath of 70 percent rubbing alcohol and 30 percent water for 30 minutes.

Garlic may have a strong scent, but it can be an effective topical treatment for athlete’s foot. One older study even found that a derivative of garlic, alone, resulted in a complete cure in 79 percent of participants after just 7 days.

To use garlic to treat athlete’s foot, crush four to five cloves of garlic. Once smashed, rub them over the affected area. Do this twice daily.

Sea salt has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties , making it a great natural treatment for athlete’s foot and any complications it could cause. It may actually inhibit the growth and spread of athlete’s foot.

Some treatments involve mixing sea salt with other natural treatments, like vinegar, to make a sort of paste. The most effective way to use this treatment may be to dissolve a cup of sea salt into a warm foot bath. Soak your feet for at least 20 minutes. Dry your feet thoroughly when you’re finished soaking.

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Talcum powder, corn starch, or baby powder work to treat athlete’s foot by keeping the affected area dry and clean. This makes it difficult for the fungus to thrive and spread by keeping sweat and moisture under control.

To use this treatment, apply talcum powder (or antifungal powder) directly to the dried, affected area every time before putting on socks. Be careful not to inhale talcum powder.

Not only can Vicks VapoRub reduce symptoms from a bad cough, it can help treat athlete’s foot. This may be because of its use of eucalyptus oil and menthol, both of which have antifungal properties

Rub Vicks on the affected area every night, massaging it into the foot. Do this every night for at least a month, or up until a week after the infection has disappeared.

It’s important to prevent athlete’s foot. Fungus can grow in dark, moist areas, making your feet an ideal place for athlete’s feet to develop. If you have athlete’s foot (or even if you just want to prevent it), keep your feet as dry and clean as possible.

Change your socks regularly. As soon as you’re done working out, clean your feet and put on a fresh pair of socks. Dry the space between your toes. Don’t go barefoot in public pool or gym areas.

You should also use shoes that are well ventilated and allow your feet to breathe to help athlete’s foot resolve more quickly.

If untreated, athlete’s foot can result in a bacterial infection if skin is broken. This can happen due to scratching or when blisters pop or ulcers become infected. Any type of infection can be very serious and requires prompt treatment.

Athlete’s foot is also very contagious. It can easily spread to your hands, especially if you’re scratching at the affected area. This fungus can also infect the area under your nails, which can be more difficult to treat, or the groin area.

If you think you have athlete’s foot and it hasn’t subsided after a week of home treatment, make an appointment to see your doctor. You may need prescription antifungals (either oral or topical) to get rid of the infection.

You should also make an appointment to see your doctor if you have athlete’s foot and diabetes. This is especially true if you have signs of a secondary bacterial infection, which can be more dangerous in those with diabetes due to their nerve damage.

Signs of infection include redness, pus, swelling, drainage, and fever. If you have diabetes, you may not feel pain in your feet due to nerve damage.

Your doctor will likely be able to diagnose athlete’s foot just by looking at it.

Because athlete’s foot is contagious, make sure you avoid scratching or touching the area except when treating the affected area.

Wash your hands before and after applying treatment. This can help prevent the foot from developing a bacterial infection and prevent the fungal infection from spreading to other parts of your body.

Last medically reviewed on October 25, 2019

How to Get Rid of Athlete’s Foot Fast and Avoid It

Katie Dupere

When you think of athlete’s foot, you may be under the impression that it’s only a concern for gym bros who refuse to wear sandals in locker room and college kids sharing nasty communal showers. But the all-too-common fungal infection can occur in people of all ages and lifestyles—and you may contract a case of athlete’s foot without a clear-cut cause or general hygiene transgression. After all, athlete’s foot is notoriously contagious.

how to get rid of athletes foot, cures for athletes foot, Athlete’s foot or Hong kong foot Disease Infographics. wounds on foot. symptoms and prevention Athlete

When you catch yourself with scaling skin and redness between your toes, it’s possible you have a case of athlete’s foot. So now what? Well, there are several proven treatment options to get rid of athlete’s foot that are relatively inexpensive, making the infection easy to treat. And that’s not to mention the number of ways to prevent the condition from returning after you get rid of athlete’s foot. All you need is the foot facts to keep your fungal foes at bay—and luckily, you’ve come to the right place for an athlete’s foot education.

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scaling skin, Peeling foot isolated on white background. Healthcare concept.

Looking to get rid of athlete’s foot fungus stat or prevent it all together? Here’s how to identify and cure a case of athlete’s foot based on solid expert advice.

First up, what is athlete’s foot?

Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection caused by various types of fungi all belonging to a group called dermatophytes, which is also responsible for conditions like jock itch and ringworm, Healthline reports. Yes, it’s a myth that athlete’s foot only affects the feet. You can possibly get “athlete’s foot” on your arm, on your groin, under your armpit, under your nails, and in even more places—but it’s sometimes named something else, like ringworm or jock itch or simply a fungal infection. The fungi that cause athlete’s foot thrive in dark, warm, moist parts of the body and feed on the protein found in hair, skin, and nails called keratin.

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Athlete’s foot is contagious and can be spread through direct contact with skin particles left on floors, towels, clothing, or shoes. That’s why it’s synonymous with gym locker rooms and communal showers.

What does athlete’s foot look like?

Athlete’s foot often occurs between the toes—remember, the offending fungi thrive in dark, warm, moist places. The infection is marked by an itchy red rash between the toes, peeling or scaling between the toes, skin peeking on the bottom of the foot, and small blisters or open sores.

athletes foot between toes, how to get rid of athletes foot

If you handle your feet, the condition can also spread to your hands. If that happens, you’ll notice peeling or redness between your fingers or underneath your nails, as this is the best environment for fungi growth. The fungal infection can also spread to your groin via your hands or towel, appearing as jock itch, according to Mayo Clinic. The rash-like appearance mimics the look of athlete’s foot but presents itself in the inner thighs and near the genitals.

How to get rid of athlete’s foot fast

According to experts, the best way to get get rid of athlete’s foot is by using over-the-counter anti-fungal products to manage the infection. Dermatologists and doctors recommend treating your feet with anti-fungal powder, creams, or sprays as recommended by the given brand, which is often twice a day. To prevent athlete’s foot from returning, continue treatment as recommended for one to two weeks after the infection has cleared.

how to get rid of athletes foot, man applying cream for athletes foot treatment

At the first sign of an infection, dedicate to washing your feet every morning and evening, thoroughly drying them to prevent any moist areas where athlete’s foot may thrive. Change your socks once daily or more, and don’t wear the same shoes day after day, allowing each pair to dry completely before wearing them again. Treating your shoes with anti-fungal powder before putting them on may also help manage the infection. If you’re looking for a foot powder to treat athlete’s foot, Mayo Clinic recommends brands like Gold Bond, Lotrimin, and Zeasorb.

When possible, go barefoot or wear sandals to let your feet breathe and heal. Experts recommend wearing moisture-wicking socks (not cotton) to discourage fungal growth when going barefoot is impractical.

There are many home remedies for athlete’s foot, though these treatments have largely not been studied for their effectiveness. Tree tree oil, for example, is said to reduce the itching, scaling, swelling, and burning of athlete’s foot when applied topically—but experts say it can take a month to see progress and it doesn’t work for everyone, according to Mayo Clinic. Bitter orange oil, which needs to be watered down before any topical application, is also a natural anti-fungal that may help treat athlete’s foot, but it can inflame your skin if not diluted correctly and can make your skin more prone to sunburn. When it comes to getting rid of athlete’s foot, most experts recommend seeking out dedicated over-the-counter products rather than using home remedies for the fastest and most effective relief.

Be careful of especially harsh treatments, like some foot peels, when trying to get rid of athlete’s foot. While treatments like this are noted for treating dry, dead skin, it can make burning, itching, and sensitivity associated with athlete’s foot worse, according to some health care professionals. It’s also recommended to lay off the pedicures until an athlete’s foot infection is good and healed. Though it may be tempting to have someone else address all that flaking skin, getting a pedicure while having athlete’s foot can actually make the condition worse—not to mention you can infect other people who use the facility after you, Chicago Tribune reports. Most reputable nail salons will likely turn you away if you have a noticeable fungal infection anyway.

Some cases of athlete’s foot can be treated at home, but you may need to call in reinforcements if you have an especially severe case of athlete’s foot. If you don’t notice an improvement in two weeks after using over-the-counter anti-fungal products, experts recommend consulting a doctor.

How to prevent athlete’s foot from returning

Athlete’s foot thrives on sweaty feet—especially sweaty feet enclosed in a small area. To prevent the condition before it starts, go barefoot at home whenever possible to let your feet breathe. Experts recommend changing socks at least once daily (or more if your feet are particularly sweaty) and wearing a different pair of shoes each day to let your shoes dry out from sweat and moisture.

Having good basic hygiene may also help prevent the condition. Wash your feet daily using warm water and soap, making sure to dry them thoroughly. If you are prone to athlete’s foot, the experts at Mayo Clinic recommend applying a medicated foot powder after washing as a preventative measure.

It’s also essential to protect your feet in public places, as athlete’s foot is spread via surfaces. Be sure to wear waterproof sandals or shoes around public pools, showers, and lockers rooms to prevent contracting the fungal infection.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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