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 it 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? So, what is athlete’s foot?
You may need to know a little something about athlete’s foot before you can treat it. Don’t fret, because we’ve got everything you need right here. 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 Athletes Foot Contagious? What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
One of the first questions people have about athlete’s foot is, “How 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, there are a number of ways that you may have contracted it—with the added bonus of athlete’s foot being contagious. From a basic standpoint, athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection.
The fungus itself tends to be Trichophyton rubrum, but there are a few other fungi in the Trichophyton family that can cause athlete’s foot as well. 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 it. Think of places like your gym’s locker room and shower. If you have a weakened immune system due to illness, or if you have diabetes, you are more prone to athlete’s foot.
Athlete’s foot is indeed contagious, so you can acquire the fungal infection through 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 in terms of athlete’s foot as they can be a perfect storm of all of many of the causes in one place.
With that in mind, it’s time to move on to the symptoms.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
The classic athlete’s foot symptoms are pretty easy to recognize. Essentially what you want to be on the lookout for is dry, cracked, itchy skin on your feet. The skin could appear dry, red, scaly and flaky, but it can also appear white and soggy in its beginning stages.
The infected area can be sore and itchy, and it isn’t uncommon to see small blisters appear in the infected area. 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 up into 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.
But maybe you’ve caught your athlete’s foot early and you’d like to take a crack at a natural foot fungus treatment. Not a problem, as the home remedies below may be able to help your feet out.
1. Tea Tree Oil
A home remedy stand by, tea tree oil could help eliminate many different types of infections, including those of the fungal nature. Drop approximately 40 drops of tea tree oil into 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 garlic or freshly sliced garlic in between your toes for a few days (refreshing the garlic every day). In addition to this, if you take some garlic supplements or add garlic to the foods you are eating, it could 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, 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 is nothing serious to worry about. It can be itchy and even painful, but as you can see by our remedies listed above, it’s easily treated. However, there are a few things you can do that might prevent your feet from getting this fungal infection to begin with.
1. Clean Your Feet
Just good hygiene can help prevent athlete’s foot. Soap and water. Make sure to clean your feet off after a lot of exercises or when you’re at the gym. After they are clean, make sure that you dry them off well as moisture can help breed fungus.
2. Don’t Share Footwear
The fungus that makes athlete’s foot is easily transferable. To that end, don’t share your shoes or socks with other people, especially if it’s work out 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.