There are tons of little ailments that, while not life-threatening, are annoying and just plain insufferable. Athlete’s foot fits the bill for many.
More likely than not, athlete’s foot won’t lead to your death, but the infection can itch and burn to the point that you wish you didn’t have feet. With that said, wouldn’t it be great if you could get rid of athlete’s foot as soon as possible? First, we should answer the question, what is athlete’s foot, exactly?
From the signs of athlete’s foot, to athlete’s foot treatment, we’ll cover everything you need to know to recognize and quickly treat athlete’s foot and get on with your life.
Is Athlete’s Foot Contagious? What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
One of the first questions people have about athlete’s foot is, “How do you get it?” Or, if you’ve already got it, “Is it contagious?” Unfortunately, the answer isn’t a simple one. While there is just one cause of athlete’s foot, a fungal infection, there are a number of ways you may have contracted it—with the added bonus of athlete’s foot being contagious.
The fungus itself tends to be Trichophyton rubrum, but a few other fungi can cause athlete’s foot as well, including Trichophyton mentagrophytes and Epidermophyton floccosum. The infection breeds on your skin, which can cause damage that leads to dry, cracked, itchy, and even blistered feet.
So, how did you get “fungus feet”? Well, a multitude of factors may be to blame. The fungus tends to find you if your feet are moist, so wearing shoes and/or socks that make your feet sweat and block proper ventilation can help foster the fungal growth.
Walking around barefoot in warm, moist places where the fungus likes to breed or near where it likes to breed can also cause an outbreak. Think of places like your gym’s locker room and shower. If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system due to illness, you are more prone to athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot is indeed contagious, so you can acquire the fungal infection through direct contact. Sharing towels, shoes, or socks with someone already suffering from athlete’s foot can transmit the fungus to your feet.
That’s why the showers and locker room at your gym can be dangerous—they create a perfect storm for potential causes in one place.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
The classic athlete’s foot symptoms are pretty easy to recognize. Essentially, you’ll want to be on the lookout for dry, cracked, itchy skin on your feet. The skin can appear dry, red, scaly and flaky, but it may also appear white and soggy in its beginning stages.
Moreover, the infected area can be sore and itchy, and it isn’t uncommon to see small blisters appear in the region. This infection can spread around the foot, especially near the nails (often causing a fungal infection in the nail). Overall, the symptoms of athlete’s foot can be pretty unpleasant, so you will want to take care of your feet as soon as possible. Luckily, there are various easy-to-make-or-purchase remedies that can get your feet back in prime shape.
Treatment Tips and Home Remedies for Athlete’s Foot
The good thing about athlete’s foot is that it’s very treatable. There are several over-the-counter medications and treatments that can help clear up the fungal infection as well as a vast array of treatments that can be prescribed by your doctor.
If you’ve caught your athlete’s foot early and you’d like to try a natural foot fungus treatment, the home remedies below may be able to relieve your discomfort.
1. Tea Tree Oil
A home remedy standby, tea tree oil could help eliminate many different types of infections, including those of a fungal nature. Place approximately 40 drops of tea tree oil in a water-filled bath or basin where you can soak your feet.
Soak your feet for 10 minutes and bring them out to dry. Rub a few drops of tea tree oil onto the infected area as it will not only help clean up the fungal infection, but it could also repair the damage done to the skin around that area.
2. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar could be used as a pre-treatment athlete’s foot cure. Take a half-cup of apple cider vinegar and mix it with two cups of water in a container large enough to soak your feet in. Soak your feet for 30 minutes and pat dry once they are out.
Garlic has many antibacterial properties that may help remove your athlete’s foot, and the herb can be used easily. Put some crushed or freshly sliced garlic in between your toes for a few days (refreshing the garlic every day). In addition, if you take some garlic supplements or add garlic to the foods you are eating, this could also help with the athlete’s foot.
4. Corn Starch and Baking Soda
A little bit of corn starch or baking soda sprinkled onto your feet before you put your socks on may help dry out the athlete’s foot fungus, and soak up any excess moisture around your feet within your footwear. This can also be used as a preventative measure.
Athlete’s Foot Is Easy to Treat
Athlete’s foot doesn’t have to be a cause for serious concern. It can be itchy and even painful, but as you can see by the remedies listed above, it’s easily treated. However, there are a few things you can do to help prevent your feet from getting this fungal infection.
1. Clean Your Feet
Simple good hygiene can help prevent athlete’s foot. Soap and water. Make sure to clean your feet after strenuous exercise or whenever you’re at the gym. After they are clean, make sure you dry them off well as moisture can breed fungus.
2. Don’t Share Footwear
The fungus that leads to athlete’s foot is easily transferable. To that end, don’t share your shoes or socks with other people, especially if it’s workout gear.
3. Don’t Share Your Towel
If you use a towel to dry your feet after showering, sharing one (especially at the gym) is an easy way to spread athlete’s foot. The fungus left behind on the towel can also be transferred to others through direct contact.
These tips should help prevent you from getting athlete’s foot, but if not, we have given you all the tools you need to tackle it head on.
“Athlete’s Foot,” NHS; http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Athletes-foot/Pages/Introduction.aspx, last accessed June 12, 2017.
“Is Athletes Foot Contagious?,” Skin Care Guide; http://www.skincareguide.com/article/skin-conditions/athletes-foot/is-athletes-foot-contagious, last accessed June 12, 2017.
Katie, “5 Effective Natural Ways to Remedy Athlete’s Foot for Good,” Wellness Mama, June 9, 2017; https://wellnessmama.com/156131/athletes-foot/, last accessed June 12, 2017.
Group, E., “10 Natural Remedies for Athlete’s Foot,” Global Healing Center, first published September 1, 2009, last updated March 15, 2017; https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/athletes-foot-home-remedy/, last accessed June 12, 2017.