I guess I fell into the common mistake that “athlete’s foot” was just that – for athletes…and dirty ones at that. I played sports for 15 plus years, and never had an issue with the nasty foot fungus. I assumed it only attacked those guys who had those ‘lucky’ socks they never washed the whole season of baseball, or men who wore their sneakers everyday without socks.
Little did I know at 33 years old I would ‘contract’ the icky fungus – most likely from a pedicure spa at a local nail joint.
At first I wasn’t sure what it was – it started on the side of my foot, it looked dry and scaly, I assumed I had walked outside one too many times in my bare feet (I am bad for that). Then it spread to the bottom, then started the itching and literal pain.
I finally started researching possible conditions (even though my husband had told me weeks ago it was a fungus – but of course I can’t listen to him), and discovered sure enough, I had athletes foot.
As I was researching it seemed most Doctor’s and websites wanted to refer you directly to the pharmacy. Though I am a big believer in ‘modern medicine’ I also am a bigger believer that natural remedies can work just as well – sometimes better – without the side effects.
Below is a list of things to get rid of that pesky fungus – they thankfully worked for me! Remember using these remedies help heal your foot, but you also need to take precautions to not spread it.
1. Wash, wash, wash! Wash your feet thoroughly, and then your hands as well. Don’t share your linens, and wash them separate from the other household items. (I washed my sheets and towels together on HOT)
2.Clean your shower stale – after every single shower, foot soak, or bare foot step. I kept Lysol Bathroom Cleaner handy and automatically sprayed my tub down as soon as I got out to risk infecting someone else in my house.
3. Be bare foot as often as possible – Fungus thrive in wet, dark places. So wear sandles whenever possible. I am lucky I work in an office, so I wore cute dressy flip flops each day, and sprayed them down with an anti-fungus spray each night, giving them plenty of time to dry between wears.
Remedies to Cure Athlete’s Foot, adapted from Discovery Health
Baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda directly into your shoes to absorb moisture.
Cornstarch. Rub cornstarch, which absorbs moisture, on your feet. Very lightly browned cornstarch is even better because any moisture content already contained in the cornstarch is removed, allowing for better absorption. To brown, sprinkle cornstarch on a pie plate and bake at 325 degrees for just a few minutes, until it looks brownish. Then dab some on your feet and toes.Crush 1 clove garlic and mix with a few drops of olive oil to make a paste. Apply to the nail and leave on for 15 to 30 minutes, then clean off in warm, soapy water. Dry feet thoroughly. Repeat daily. Because the fungus can return, you may wish to continue this treatment for several weeks after the fungus has disappeared, just to ward off another fungal visit.
Garlic. Eat some garlic! It has antifungal properties. You can also swab the affected area with garlic juice twice a day. If your toenail appears to have the fungus, use this recipe:
Crush 1 clove garlic and mix with a few drops of olive oil to make a paste. Apply to the nail and leave on for 15 to 30 minutes, then clean off in warm, soapy water. Dry feet thoroughly. Repeat daily. Because the fungus can return, you may wish to continue this treatment for several weeks after the fungus has disappeared, just to ward off another fungal visit.
Immune-boosting foods. Low immunity can make you more susceptible to a fungal infection, so include some of these immune-boosting foods in your diet: broccoli, red meats, and scallions. (See also “Home Remedies From the Cupboard” for more immune-boosting foods.)
Cinnamon. A good soak in a cinnamon tea foot bath will help slow down the fungus. Boil 8 to 10 broken cinnamon sticks in 4 cups water, then simmer for five minutes. Let steep for another 45 minutes. Soak your feet for 15 to 30 minutes. Repeat daily, as needed.
Yogurt. One of the greatest of all fungus-fighting foods in your fridge is yogurt that contains live acidophilus. The flavor isn’t important as long as the yogurt contains the active bacteria. (Commercial yogurts with live culture now carry a seal indicating this; a live culture is crucial!) Acidophilus helps control vaginal and oral yeast, but it may give other fungi a pretty good fight, too. And if nothing else, it tastes good and is good for you.
Lemon. This remedy will help you in the sweaty foot-odor department. Squeeze the juice from a lemon and mix it with 2 ounces water. Rinse your feet with the lemon water.
Vinegar. Soak your feet in 1 cup vinegar to 2 quarts water for 15 to 30 minutes every night. Or make a solution of 1 cup vinegar to 1 cup water, and apply it directly to the affected areas with a cotton ball. If the infection is severe and the skin is raw, the solution will sting. Make sure your feet are completely dry before putting on your socks or slippers. Cider vinegar can also be used as a remedy. Mix equal parts apple cider (or regular) vinegar and ethyl alcohol. Dab on the affected areas. Again, be aware this will sting if the skin is raw.
Tea. The tannic acid in tea is soothing, helps to dry the foot, and helps kill the fungus. Make a foot soak by putting 6 black tea bags in 1 quart warm water.
Salt. Soak your infected foot in warm salt water, using 1 teaspoon salt for each cup of water, for 10 minutes. Dry your foot thoroughly, then dab some baking soda between your toes.
Athlete’s foot can be an irritating and even painful problem, but a little vigilance and the simple remedies in this article can keep your feet dry and healthy. See the next page for when to see a doctor for athlete’s foot.