Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that usually thrives in warm, damp places. The fungus, Tinea pedis, grows between the toes, on top of the feet, on toenails and between the fingers. White patches, scaly patches, and redness are all indicative of the fungus. Symptoms of athlete’s foot may include itching, burning, stinging and inflammation.
Athletes foot fungus frequents public showers and locker rooms, indoor swimming pools and health clubs, and it is very contagious. Contact with shoes or socks containing the fungus, wet floors, or exercise equipment (remember it can live between fingers too) can spread it.
Tips for Preventing Athlete’s Foot
You can deter athlete’s foot fungus from taking hold by wearing flip-flops around public pools or showers and ensuring that your feet, including between your toes, are thoroughly dried after bathing or swimming.
You should keep your toenails the shortest length that is comfortable for you, since the fungus can live under toenails. Toenails that are left long might retain moisture and provide a haven for the fungus. You shouldn’t leave sweaty socks or shoes on any longer than you have to.
If your feet tend to sweat a lot during the day, or if you are particularly active, take a fresh pair of organic cotton socks with you and change them partway through the day (cotton is more absorbent than synthetic materials and better for your feet), and don’t wear the same shoes the following day – give them time to completely dry and air out. If you can sleep barefoot with your feet out of the covers this will also help to keep them dry and make them less hospitable to the fungus.
10 Natural Remedies for Athlete’s Foot
While prevention is always the best medicine, it’s certainly not a fail-safe. In case you DO find yourself with itchy feet, here are some natural remedies that can help with Athlete’s Foot.
- Add 40 Drops of Organic Tea Tree Oil to a foot bath and soak your feet for 10 minutes. After soaking and thoroughly drying the feet, massage a few drops of the oil directly into the affected area. Tea tree oil has antiseptic and anti-fungal properties that will help destroy the fungus in heavily infested areas and deter it from spreading to unaffected areas.
- Soak your feet in 2 tablespoons of Himalayan Crystal salt and ½ cup Organic Apple Cider Vinegar solution mixed with some warm water. This creates a very acidic environment in which the fungus cannot live. You can also spray your feet or wipe them down with a cloth soaked in this solution after you shower, just make sure you get them completely dry afterwards. You can also wipe down the insides of shoes and sandals to help prevent the fungus from clinging there.
- Make your feet stinkier by placing slices of fresh garlic, or some crushed garlic, between your toes and leaving them there for the day. You can also add the garlic to foods you eat or take a garlic supplement with the same effect, it just may take a little bit longer.
- Using ozonated olive oil can also help with Athlete’s Foot. Use the paste to swab your clean, dry feet each morning and night. This should clear up the fungus within about two to four days and can be used as a preventative measure against future outbreaks. I recommend the olive oil paste such as 02-ZAP.
- Sprinkle your toes with a little bit of organic corn starch or baking soda before putting on your socks in the morning. The corn starch/baking soda will help soak up moisture, but it wont stop the itch. Baking soda in the shoes also helps to absorb some of that not-so-pleasant sweaty foot smell.
- Make a tea of 4 ounces of oregano leaves and just enough water to cover your feet. Soak your feet 2-3 times daily in this mixture. I’ve read that you can re-use this tea for a week, but I strongly recommend making it fresh each day so that you know you are starting out with fungus-free tea.
- Sesame and Raw virgin coconut oil have anti-fungal properties and can be applied directly to the feet. Swab it liberally on clean dry feet with a cotton ball twice daily.
- Colloidal Silver is another common remedy for athlete’s foot. Spray or apply to your feet and let it fully dry. Alternatively, you can spray and leave the silver on your feet overnight.
- Organic Neem oil, sometimes used as a pesticide, is another all natural oil that has antibacterial, antiseptic and antifungal properties. Apply to clean dry feet with a cotton ball before going about your business.
- You can also use Organic Ginger, just an ounce of fresh chopped ginger added to a cup of boiling water and simmered for 20 minutes. Once cooled, apply twice daily to clean feet. Ginger is a strong anti-fungal, and your feet will have a pleasantly spicy smell.
-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM