Athlete’s foot (also known as tinea pedis) is a common fungal infection involving the skin of the feet. The fungus thrives in warm, damp environments, such as the floors of locker rooms, health clubs, showers, and around swimming pools and can be spread by stepping on surfaces that are contaminated with the fungus.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
- Itching, burning, or stinging between the toes or on the soles of the feet
- Scales, cracks, cuts, peeling skin, or blisters between the toes or on the soles of the feet
- Dry skin on the sides or bottoms of the feet
If the infection spreads to the toenails, it can cause thick, crumbly, discolored, or separated toenails.
Here are several home remedies that are sometimes said to help athlete’s foot:
Soaking your feet in a vinegar solution may help to ease athlete’s foot as the acetic acid has antifungal properties. Typically, people use 1 cup of vinegar mixed with 2 cups of water.
These are some tips on how to prevent reinfection:
- Keep your feet clean and completely dry, especially in between your toes.
- Wear cotton socks. Be sure to wear a fresh pair each day.
- Avoid tight, closed-toe shoes. Moisture and heat promote the growth of the athlete’s foot fungus.
- Wear sandals in locker and shower rooms and other public places.
- Wash socks in the hot water setting of the washing machine. Don’t share socks or shoes with someone who has athlete’s foot.
If you think you may have athlete’s foot, it’s important to consult your doctor. If you have diabetes or a weakened immune system (or have a swelling in the foot or leg, fever, cracks in the skin, ulcers, or pus in the blisters), you should see your doctor right away. There is a greater risk of secondary bacterial infections and serious complications.