Tinea pedis, more commonly referred to as athlete’s foot, is a fungal infection of the feet, usually affecting or beginning at the skin between the toes. Athlete’s foot is a form of ringworm (which, despite the name, involves no actual worm), and is most commonly found in people whose feet are tightly compressed and sweaty.
Beyond the infection spreading to other parts of the body, such as the hands, there are not many risks or complications associated with athlete’s foot. However, the infection is only likely to spread if left untreated, so it is always best to address the issue as soon as possible. With that in mind, here are a number of ways to both treat and prevent athlete’s foot.
The good news with athlete’s foot is that it is not a major condition, with visits to the doctor and prescription medication usually only required for more serious cases. While some more-powerful medication may occasionally be required, there are lots of over-the-counter treatments available, meaning people who are prone to athlete’s foot don’t need to worry too much about the cost of treating it.
At the same time, there is also a wide range of home remedies you can brew yourself that should be powerful enough to deal with the less-advanced cases on fungal infection. Tea tree oil has been shown to be an effective treatment, which simply needs to be diluted into another oil and rubbed on the affected area.
But if tea tree oil is too hard to come by, there are several types of foot soaks that can help as well. Among the most effective of these would be the apple cider vinegar soak, which you can make by adding 1 part apple cider vinegar to 4 parts warm water. Then just soak your feet for up to 20 minutes, once a day until the issue is resolved. If you can’t get your hands on any apple cider vinegar, simply use four crushed cloves of garlic and soak for 30 minutes, twice a day. If all else fails, a warm saltwater soak for 30 minutes twice a day can also help.
Although anyone can get athlete’s foot, due to lifestyle choices and body chemistry, some people are just more prone to it than others. For this reason, prevention is crucial in managing athlete’s foot in the long run. Luckily, preventing the condition is mainly a matter of adopting some good habits, such as:
Avoiding Bare Feet: As a fungus, athlete’s foot is often spread by contact, particularly in wet areas, so avoiding going barefoot in public or in shared spaces can help reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Clean Fabric: Whether it’s socks, towels, or bedsheets, there’s no point in treating the infection on your feet if you’re just going to rub them against areas that have possibly come into contact with the fungus as well. Until the infection has cleared up, make sure to rotate and wash any fabrics you use regularly.
Shoes: Similarly, be sure to wear clean shoes that are breathable and not too tight. You can also sprinkle some talcum powder in the shoes at night to keep them dry, a habit you can continue even after the infection clears.
Clip Toenails: Longer nails not only make it easier for bacteria and fungi to become trapped, but they can also cut your toes and risk an infection entering through the wound.
Athlete’s foot may be an uncomfortable and inconvenient condition, but it is not a dangerous one. While the more advanced cases of athlete’s foot may necessitate a doctor’s visit, most can be easily resolved in a couple of weeks. The most important thing to take away is that the condition is easily prevented by good hygiene, which means the best treatment is ultimately keeping clean.