The skin on your feet can become infected with fungus, known as athlete’s foot, which causes an itching and burning sensation as well as flaking skin. Due to its contagious nature, the infection can spread to your toenails when it isn’t properly treated. Furthermore, the infection can also spread to other parts of your body and to other people through contact.
If you suspect yourself of having athlete’s foot and/or a fungal infection on your toenails, don’t despair! We will discuss the medical and natural ways how to get rid of fungus on feet in the following sections.
Keep Your Feet Clean and Moisturized
The best way how to get rid of feet fungus is to prevent their recurrence after your successful treatment. Your feet and their toenails should be cared for on a daily basis so that their risks of infections and injuries can be decreased. Your daily basic care for your feet should include:
- Wash your feet daily, especially between your toes, with soap and water.
- Thoroughly wipe your feet after washing. Fungi thrive in moist environments, such as between your wet toes.
- Apply the best foot cream on your feet to keep them moisturized and, thus, decrease their dry quality. Extra-dry skin doesn’t have its normal protective barrier resulting in increased risk for infections and injuries. But don’t apply it between your toes.
- Keep your feet dry, nonetheless, by applying talcum powder and wearing breathable socks and shoes (i.e., moisture wicking) for good ventilation. Change your socks often, too.
- Check your feet and toenails daily for any signs of sores, cuts, and swelling.
- Wear supportive shoes with good arch support. Rotate your shoes daily, if possible.
- Trim your toenails straight across to prevent infections around the corners, especially ingrown nails.
And be sure to get rid of toe fungus, among other infections, as soon as you see it! Early treatment is a must for successful treatment.
Avoid Further Contamination
Keep in mind that your feet come into direct contact with footwear and floors. The fungal infection can then easily and quickly spread when you don’t adopt the following preventive measures.
- Never share your towels, shoes and other personal things with others, even with your own family members.
- Avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as in gyms, locker rooms, shower rooms, and swimming pools. Wear flip-flops or shower shoes in these areas instead.
- Clean the surfaces of your bathroom and toilets, especially the floors, on a regular basis. Apply a disinfectant, if necessary, to kill the pathogens that are usually lurking in these areas.
- Wear clean, dry socks always, as well as change them as often as needed so that your feet stays dry.
- Separate infected items like socks and towels in the laundry and wash them separately, too. Use a separate laundry basket, too, for infected items and disinfect it by wiping it with a disinfectant wipe.
- Wash infected items in hot water (140°F 0r 60°C) and regular detergent to kill the fungus. Use chlorine bleach for white items and non-chlorine bleach for colored ones. Wool socks should be washed in cold water and a non-chlorine disinfectant.
- Infected clothes should be dried in a tumble dryer set to the highest suggested temperature to kill the fungus, too.
- Disinfect your backpacks and gym bags on a regular basis, too, since these may have come in direct contact with infected items.
- Clean and disinfect your shoes after you wear them. Let them air dry for at least 24 hours before wearing them again; these should be thoroughly dry before wear.
While the following ways to get rid of fungus on feet and toenails are proven effective, you will likely still have a recurrence of the infection when these preventive measures are absent. You can, for example, still be wearing infected socks over your treated feet.
You are, in effect, negating the positive effects of the ways how to get rid of fungus on your feet. You are also wasting your time, effort and money poured into your treatment.
Apply Medicated Creams
In most cases, the best way how to get rid of foot fungus fast is to apply one of the best medicated antifungal creams. Many of these creams can also be used to get rid of fungus on nails.
Over-the-counter medications are usually effective for mild cases. Prescription medications will be more effective for moderate to severe cases. Examples of these medications include:
Aside from the antifungal cream, your doctor may also recommend it in other forms, such as in spray or powder. You may also sprinkle the powder on your shoes to reduce the risk of recurrence.
You may also be advised to take antifungal oral medications, such as fluconazole, itraconazole, and terbinafine, for severe cases. You have to follow their recommended dosage and duration because these can interfere with certain medications, such as antacids and anticoagulants.
Even when your symptoms have disappeared, such as when the flaking skin has been resolved, you should continue with the treatment for 1-2 weeks. This will prevent the infection from recurring – and when it recurs, it may be more difficult to get rid of foot fungus at home with these treatments.
Try Home Remedies
We also suggest the following ways to get rid of foot fungus at home remedies. These will work best for mild cases, especially when coupled with the abovementioned preventive measures.
- Tea tree oil is one of the more common ways to get rid of foot fungus naturally because it’s relatively safe and effective. Studies have shown that it can kill some types of fungi, even bacteria, so it’s a popular ingredient in antifungal and antibacterial natural products.
Rub tea tree oil into the infected area and its surrounding skin 2-3 times a day. Be sure that your skin and nails are clean first before applying it. You may observe a decrease in your skin’s scaling, burning and itching sensations, and swelling after a month or so of regular application.
Tea tree oil can trigger allergies, such as a skin rash in susceptible people. It also doesn’t work for all cases of athlete’s foot so caution is recommended. It should also never be taken by mouth because of its possibly toxic effects.
- Green tea may also help to remove toenail fungus because its polyphenols have mild antifungal property. Soak your feet for 15-20 minutes in lukewarm green tea for relief from the peeling, redness, and itchiness. Do it on a daily basis, if possible, although results may only be visible in three months.
- Bitter orange has natural fungi-fighting property. Aside from athlete’s foot, it can also be used as a natural treatment for jock itch and ringworm. As a way how to remove foot fungus, apply diluted bitter orange concentrate to the affected area three times a day with the results visible in a week or two.
For best results, we suggest combining these natural ways to get rid of foot fungus with the use of medications. You should also be conscious about preventing its spread and recurrence, thus, making life easier for your family and friends.