Do people move away from you, putting their hands to their noses in a delicate manner, whenever you remove your footwear? If the answer is in the affirmative, it means that your feet smell! The region between the toes could be looking ugly too, with the skin all cracked, red, scaly or thick in appearance. Even the toenails may look discoloured. Left untreated, blisters may begin making an appearance along with an irritating itch and/or sensation of burning/stinging. In short, you are suffering from Tinea Pedis or Athlete’s Foot.
However, What Could Have Led To Your Falling Victim To This Condition?
It could be that the area between your toes always remains damp, thanks to the usage of wet shoes/socks. You might have habituated to walking barefoot on wet floors. Sharing things and places with ‘infected’ people, can also lead to the spread of Athlete’s Foot. Public showers, common towels, swimming pools etc. are the favourite residences of the fungus, Trichophyton rubrum. It loves to settle down in damp or wet places. You are more vulnerable if you have a weak immune system.
The good thing is that there are all manner of home remedies that you may try in order to rid of athlete’s foot.
Yes, we can hear you going, “Yech! My feet already stink!” However, it is possible to beat a bad smell with another strong smell. Garlic contains Allicin and Ajoene, two highly active compounds. They refuse to let the fungus grow or develop. Therefore, you should find your inflammation improving within a week or so.
- Take a large basin of warm or reasonably hot water
- Crush around three to four cloves of garlic
- Drop the crushed garlic into the warm/hot water
- Place your feet in the basin and relax for half-an-hour
- Remove and wipe the feet clean
- Repeat the process once more during the day.
- Another way of using garlic is to place the crushed garlic directly between the toes.
- Alternatively, you may take fresh garlic and chop the cloves into small slices. Place these slices between the toes.
There is another way to use garlic. You may go in for an overnight poultice.
- Peel some garlic cloves
- Grind them such that you obtain half-a-cup of garlic powder
- Pour in two tablespoons of olive oil
- Blend the ingredients well
- Now spread the mixture all over your feet
- Wrap up your feet in large strips of cotton cloth
- You may even don socks, such that the oil and powder do not spread everywhere
- When you wake up in the morning, your feet should look and feel significantly better
- You may repeat the process the next night too, if the infestation is heavy.
Finally, do include garlic in your menus or consume garlic supplements.
2. Essential Oils
You may use essential oils such as clove, tea tree, thyme, oregano, geranium or lavender for treating your Athlete’s Foot. They possess anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. However, do not make the mistake of using them in their concentrated forms directly on your skin. Please remember that they are strong and may prove irritating or painful specifically on broken/damaged skin. Therefore, use them with carrier oil always. One such oil is coconut oil. In this case, coconut oil will award the double benefit of destroying fungal growth via its anti-fungal properties. Of course, you may consult a qualified aroma therapist if you still feel confused.
Outlined below are the ingredients that go into making a perfect salve.
- Clove oil – 12 drops
- Oregano oil – 12 drops
- Tea tree oil – 40 drops
- Lavender oil – 20 drops
- Almond/Olive oil – 2 cups
- Pastilles of beeswax – ¼ cup
- At the outset, take a double boiler
- Pour the almond/olive oil and beeswax into it
- Heat the double boiler until all the beeswax has melted and mixed with the carrier oil
- Remove from the stove and pour other essential oils such as 12 drops of Clove oil, 12 drops of Oregano oil, 40 drops of Tea tree oil and 20 drops Lavender oil into this mixture and stir well
- Store the salve in an airtight glass jar, an airtight small tin, or a lip chap tube
- Spread it over the infected areas, whenever needed.
Alternatively, you may use oregano oil (use oregano leaves to get the effect of oregano oil) or tea tree oil for healing your condition.
- Pour four ounces of fresh oregano leaves into a bowl of water
- Boil the mixture in order to prepare oregano tea
- Ensure that you have sufficient tea to cover both your feet completely
- Now soak your feet in this tea for some time
- Repeat the process twice or thrice each day until your Athlete’s Foot is cured
- It would be best to make ‘fresh’ tea each day.
With Regard To Tea Tree Oil
- Pour 40 drops of the essential oil to a footbath
- A footbath refers to a bathtub that is used for disinfecting, warming or washing the feet
- After soaking your feet in the solution for 10 minutes or so, remove and dry the feet
- In case, your condition is very bad, you may dilute a few drops of the essential oil in water and apply directly over these infested regions
- Then again, you may fill a small spray bottle with a solution of water and tea tree oil. Ensure that the ratio is 1:1. Use the spray as often as you want, throughout the day. Rinsing is unnecessary.
Peppermint Oil is another option. The menthol present in it suffices to get rid of pain and inflammation. The oil also possesses anti-fungal properties that are ideal for destroying Tinea pedis.
- Take 30 ml of coconut or olive oil
- Take 12 drops of peppermint essential oil
- Mix the oils well
- Spread the mixture over the infested regions between your toes or even under the toenails
- Let the areas dry on their own
- Repeat thrice every day
- An alternative is to add both the oils to warm water and allow your feet to soak in the solution.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
It is an anti-septic with anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties. Further, apple cider vinegar’s acidity creates such an environment that the fungus fails to thrive in it.
- Take half-a-cup of apple cider vinegar in a bowl
- Pour two tablespoons of Himalayan Crystal Salt into it. These salt crystals behave like disinfectants, preventing the infection from spreading to other parts of the feet
- Mix the ingredients in warm water, stirring thoroughly
- Ensure that you have sufficient material to cover both your feet completely
- Soak your feet in this solution for 10 minutes or so
- Wipe your feet dry afterwards.
It could be that the fungus is residing inside your shoes too. Therefore, soak a clean washcloth in this mixture and use it on the inside of your shoes. This should help to destroy the ‘infection’ inside your footwear.
- Take two cups of water in a bowl
- Pour half-a-cup of good-quality apple cider vinegar into the water
- Let your feet rest in this water for 30 minutes or so
- Wipe your feet dry.
If you can bear the sting, you may soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it directly to the infested areas between the toes.
Apart from being a wonderful bactericide, it is also great for absorbing moisture! Therefore, it should help keep the regions between your toes dry, thereby preventing greater spread of the fungus.
How will you use it for Athlete’s Foot?
- Pre-heat oven to 325oC
- When done take half-a-cup of cornstarch on a plate
- If it seems insufficient to cover both of your feet, you may take a higher quantity
- Now, place the plate in the pre-heated oven
- Allow it to remain there, until the cornstarch acquires a light-brownish hue.
- Do not allow the cornstarch to burn
- Remove the plate from the oven
- If you do not have an oven, you may pour the cornstarch into a small cooking pot. Stir, until it turns slightly brown
- Spread the cornstarch onto your feet, toes and in-between your toes
- Let it stay for five or ten minutes
- Use a clean and soft towel to brush off the cornstarch from your feet and toes
- Wash your hands in warm water, both, after applying it and after brushing it off
- You may use a mild soap for washing your hands. This precaution is necessary because Athlete’s Foot is contagious.
Similarly, you may sprinkle cornstarch onto your feet, in order to ensure that they remain dry and do not fall prey to Athlete’s Foot.
Yogurt is filled with live bacteria and acidophilus. It is the reason why people place it in the category of probiotics.
- Take a small amount of plain and high-quality yogurt
- Spread it over the infested areas of your feet
- Allow your feet to dry
- Then, rinse your feet with lukewarm water
- Pat the areas dry with the aid of a fresh and clean towel
- Repeat the process once again during the day
- Continue for a few weeks, until the Athlete’s Foot disappears.
You will help yourself more if you consume plain yogurt twice every day. The healing takes place from the inside. In fact, you should befriend probiotic-containing foods as much as possible.
6. Hydrogen Peroxide
Homemakers have long been using it as a disinfectant for cutting boards and kitchen utensils. It is also a cool antiseptic for cuts and scratches. It is a broad-spectrum substance with anti-microbial properties. Naturally, no fungus will be able to confront hydrogen peroxide and get away unscathed!
- Take a pint of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Take eight pints of lukewarm distilled water
- You may use a large spray bottle to mix the two
- Pour the mixture into a bowl, wherein you can soak your feet for 20 to 30 minutes
- Remove your feet and let them dry on their own
- However, ensure that there is no moisture on your feet, while putting on your soaks and footwear
- Repeat the process once more during the day
- Continue for some days, until your condition heals.
Do not go for hydrogen peroxide, which is beyond the 3% food grade. Higher concentrations will harm your skin.
7. Neem Oil
Neem oil is the enemy of any kind of fungal growth as well as any kind of inflammation.
- You will need just a couple of drops, or more, of good-quality neem oil
- Apply neem oil over all the affected areas
- Let the oil stay on your feet and toes for 15 or 20 minutes
- Rinse your feet with normal water
- Do this once every day, until your condition heals.
Here are some tips to prevent another attack of Athlete’s Foot.
- Ensure that your footwear and socks are proper. For instance, if your feet have a tendency to sweat, you must opt for cotton socks and leather shoes. Woollen/synthetic yarn socks and rubber/plastic shoes tend to cause heavy sweating, as well as retain moisture.
- In fact, it would be good to avoid wearing the same footwear for two consecutive days. Give it a chance to dry out, by keeping it in the sun.
- Then again, as soon as the itching and inflammation disappears, ensure that you give your feet and toes a good scrub. A bristle scrub brush should prove handy. With regard to the spaces between the toes, go in for a test-tube/bottle brush.
- It would be best not to use the bathtub for your scrubbing exercise, unless you plan to cleanse the tub thoroughly afterwards. You do not want to initiate a ‘repeat’ infection via the scraps of dead skin lying all over the place.