Athlete's Foot

Aside from being extraordinarily uncomfortable and irritating (not to mention smelly), having athlete’s foot is embarrassing. Oftentimes the embarrassment of the affliction causes people to do things that actually make the athletes foot worse simply because they don’t want people to see (or smell) the garbage pits attached to the bottoms of their ankles. By make things worse I mean never taking shoes or socks off and thus never allowing their feet to dry out. I myself am guilty of it. The one and only year I lived in the dorms I picked up a little athletes foot from, you guessed it, the communal showers. I guess I should have listened to my old man and bought those shower sandals. Oh, well. Anyway, I just dealt with it and wore shoes every day until school ended, and I went home for the summer where I could cure athlete’s foot privately.

Athlete’s foot is known to the medical community as tinea pedis. It is a foot fungus that is caused most commonly by these fungi: trichophyton, epidermophyton, floccossum, or microsporum.  While fungus is ever-present in the world, affecting everything from trees to fish, these tinia pedis fungi love feet.

It is ridiculously common and, with proper foot care, pretty easy to treat and avoid. If you’re not careful, though, it is easily contracted and spread. And if not properly treated, it can become quite serious and painful, and you could develop secondary bacterial infections. It does not necessarily stay confined to your feet either. Athletes foot can spread easily to your groin region or your armpits. All it really requires to flourish is a dark, dampish place. So I suggest that you read this article, put away your pride, and learn how to get rid of athletes foot.

Athlete’s Foot Symptoms

  • Dry skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Scaly skin
  • Inflamed skin
  • Blisters
  • Burning
  • Cracked skin
  • Bleeding
  • Foul odor

Best Athlete’s Foot Treatment

Start with fungicides.

Because athlete’s foot is a fungus, you need to focus on fungicides.  There can be a temptation to use antibacterials, but fungicides are going to be more effective.

Sounds easy, right? Well, actually . . . yeah. Take a quick trip the drugstore and grab yourself an over-the-counter athletes foot treatment, or save time and order something like Lotrimin through Amazon. Since there are about 9,556 different types, it can be a little overwhelming. Don’t sweat it. Ask the pharmacist what they would recommend. Don’t be embarrassed about it. They are unbelievably used to this kind of thing. In case you don’t want to talk to anyone, I’m gonna list a few good athlete’s foot treatments in the bottom section of this article.

Keep your feet clean.

This is important both for avoiding athletes foot to begin with and for getting rid of athletes foot once you’ve got it. Foot fungus loves icky, dirty, damp places like your nasty feet. If they are clean, they won’t be as desirable for fungus. Wash your feet at least twice a day, more if you have the time. Use a bathing brush to remove any dead skin. Clean between your toes too. A bottle brush works well for that. Don’t forget to clean your toenails. Use a toothpick or a matchstick instead of something metal. The metal can leave gouges in the toenail that fungus will be able to hide in. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly, because handling your fungus-ridden feet ain’t sanitary. Keeping your feet clean will reduce toe jam, too.

Keep your feet dry.

This is another very important step when trying to get rid of athletes foot. Every time you get out of the bath or shower, dry your feet thoroughly. This is especially important if you are about to put on socks and shoes. Don’t be afraid to hit your feet with a blow dryer. Just don’t set it so high that your feet sweat. Whenever possible, go barefoot or wear sandals. Also, it can take up to 24 hours for a pair of shoes to dry out completely after wearing them. So unlace them and open them up as far as you can to get them as dry as possible.

Always wear clean socks and shoes.

You will want to change your socks and shoes two or three times a day, especially after you do something that causes your feet to sweat. It will create a lot of laundry, but it’ll help you with getting rid of athlete’s foot faster. Always wear breathable cotton socks too.

As for shoes, there is a trick that might seem a little expensive but it is worth it:  Don’t wear the same pair of shoes two days in a row. As mentioned above, it can take awhile for them to dry thoroughly.  In fact, people who often wear leather shoes for work will actually have two identical pairs of shoes, rotating every-other day.

Finally, after taking a pair of shoes off, give the insides of them a quick squirt with some athlete’s foot antifungal spray. When you are letting your shoes air out, invest in some shoe treats to help them get maximum drying. Find them on Amazon.

Give your feet a good salt soak.

Using a pan or a bucket or one of those fancy-schmancy foot soaker things, soak your feet for at least fifteen minutes twice a day. Just use plain old Epsom Salts — nothing terribly fancy (a basic, high-quality salt like this one on Amazon will do). They’re cheap and really easy to find. Just follow the directions on the box for concentrations. The salts will not only kill a lot of the foot fungus, they will also help to soften your feet so that the athletes foot cure you’re using will work better and faster. Also, the salt soak will help relieve itch almost immediately.

Best Ways to Prevent Athlete’s Foot

  • Wear sandals in the shower and around the pool.
  • Wear sandals for everyday use.
  • Go barefoot where it’s safe to do so.
  • Wear breathable shoes.
  • Always wear clean socks.
  • Don’t share socks, shoes, or sandals.
  • Avoid direct contact with infected people (no footsie).

How to get rid of Athlete’s Foot with Fungicides

There are a couple of really cool things about over-the-counter athletes foot cures. First of all is the sheer number and availability of them. They are unbelievably easy to attain. Any drugstore or any of the “mart” stores will carry them. If you are a little embarrassed about the issue, you can buy your stuff online and no one, not even your postal carrier, will have any idea what’s going on in your shoes. The second thing is that they pretty much all work well. Just look for active ingredients like miconazole, itraconazole, butenafine, terbinafine, or tolnaftate to name a few. They also come in a number of different application methods. There are liquid sprays (Tough actin’ Tinactin, Lamisil AT), creams (Lotrimin Ultra, Scholl Athlete’s Foot Cream), or powders (Desenex Antifungal Foot Powder, Gold Bond Medicated Foot Powder). Whatever you use, just make sure to finish the recommended regimen. If you stop using the foot treatment too early, there’s a very good chance the problem will return. Finally, if you’ve done everything you can to do to get rid of athlete’s foot and you just can’t win, go to the doctor. There are stronger athlete’s foot medications available through prescription.

Athlete’s Foot Home Remedies

Tea tree oil. Help make that burning foot feel better with this natural remedy. Apply straight tea tree oil to your feet two times daily for four to six weeks. This stuff is taken from the Australian Ti Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). You can find ArtNaturals Tea Tree Oil from Amazon.

Urine. Use what you’ve got. Pee on your feet in the shower. This is one of those methods that has just as many supporters as it does nay sayers. The idea is that there is urea in urine. There is also urea (synthetic) found in many antifungal medications.

Vinegar. There’s no end to the uses for this stuff. Use either plain white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Apple cider smells better, but white is cheaper. Anyway, mix it 50/50 with water and soak your feet in it for fifteen minutes twice daily.

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About the Author

Eric Ronning

Eric Ronning