The most common fungal infection of the feet is athlete’s foot (also called tinea pedis), symptoms include a scaly rash that usually causes itching, stinging, and burning. People with athlete’s foot can have moist, raw skin between their toes, which causes burning, itching and smelly feet.
Nail fungus is another type of fungal infection affecting the feet. It can lead to brittle, discolored and thick and unsightly toenails. Both of these infections can be spread through contaminated surfaces and if left untreated can lead to more serious infections. The best way to prevent fungal infections on the feet is to keep your feet dry. The fungus thrives in warm, wet environments like the inside of sweaty shoes. Wash your feet daily. Use soap and water and make sure to dry thoroughly, especially in between your toes. Wear shower shoes or flip flops in locker rooms or pool decks.
However, you may not be able to avoid all situations in which your feet are exposed to fungus. You may wear damp socks or tight-fitting shoes, or walk bare feet on a contaminated floor, and thus get a fungal infection on your feet. If you experience symptoms of infection, most patients will run to the pharmacy to see if they can purchase an over the counter medication and for the most part these work pretty well for a mild case of athlete’s foot. If after a few days of treatment you do not see some improvements, you may want to consult your doctor to get a stronger prescription strength medication. With good hygiene and the right medication, most patients are able to resolve athlete’s foot.
Toenail fungus infections tend to be a lot harder to cure and even when you do see improvement after treatment, they tend to come back unless completely cured. Most of the over the counter medications that you can pick-up without a prescription don’t really work unless its a very superficial infection. The best course of action is really to see a doctor, who can prescribe a medication or combination of medications. Even these prescription medications have a variable rate of success, with topical treatments showing cure rates below 50%. Mostly, fungal infections on the feet do not spread beyond the skin, and if minor, natural remedies can help you get relief. Here are some useful tips for treating foot fungal infections.
How to Treat Fungal Infections on Feet
- Over-the-counter medicines like miconazole, terbinafine, and clotrimazole can help treat foot fungus. Creams containing these medicines have to be applied on the affected area once or twice daily.
- Prescription medications include those for topical application as well as oral medicines. Topical steroid medicines may also be prescribed for pain and inflammation on the feet.
- If your athlete’s foot is mild, you may be advised using an antifungal ointment, lotion, spray or powder.
- Using an antifungal cream or drying powder twice or three daily, may help
- Soaking your feet in salt water or diluted vinegar can be effective in treating the blisters caused by the fungal infection on your feet but this can also sting.
- Pouring hydrogen peroxide on the affected skin may also help reduce fungus. It also kills surface bacteria, if any, thus helping in the treatment of secondary bacterial infections on the feet.
- Rubbing alcohol can kill fungus on the surface level. Apply it directly on the affected area or soak your feet for 30 minutes, in a footbath that containing 70% rubbing alcohol.
- There is also some studies showingtea tree oil to be a potential remedy for athlete’s foot.
- Baking soda may also help in treating fungal infections as well as reduce foot odor.
- Sea salts, due to their antifungal properties, help in treating athlete’s foot. Mix sea salt in vinegar and apply the paste on the affected area or add a cup of sea salt to warm water and take a foot bath.
- Eucalyptus oil is an effective natural treatment for athlete’s foot, as it has antifungal properties. Apply the oil daily on the affected area, until the infection subsides.
- Apple cider vinegar contains anti-fungal properties
- Tea tree oil, oregano oil, olive leaf extract, snakeroot extract, and vinegar are some of the home remedies thought to be beneficial.
- Menthol-based products may be another home remedy for toenail fungus due to the antifungal properties of menthol.
- An antifungal nail polish is sometimes prescribed to treat nail fungus. Rubbing an antifungal cream into the infected nails may also help in the treatment of toenail fungus.
After the fungal infection on your feet is completely cured, prevent its recurrence by keeping your feet clean and dry, wearing shoes that let your feet breathe, and keeping your toenails trimmed and clean. Follow a good foot care routine that includes soothing and nourishing your feet few times a week, if not daily.
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