Foot Fungus: What is It and How Can I Treat It? – Foot fungus, while it can seem like a straightforward problem, is a term for several different foot problems. It can include symptoms such as burning, itching, cracking or peeling on foot or between the toes, or it can manifest in the toenails through thick, discolored nails and pain.
Learn about the different kinds of foot fungus and what you can do to avoid or treat these conditions.
Athlete’s Foot Fungus – Jungle Rot Feet
Athlete’s foot is one of the most common foot infections. It can be easily acquired, especially by people who often use communal showers and pools, such as those in college dorms or gyms. It grows in warm, damp places like public showers, locker rooms, and pools. It is also common with shoes that are too tight or socks or shoes that are damp. Athletes foot is contracted from getting pedicures with not properly sanitized equipment.
Tinea pedis, the scientific name for athlete’s foot, is often characterized by itching, burning, redness, peeling and even sores and blisters. Athlete’s foot can also be known as jungle rot, from military people who contract it in warm, damp climates.
Four different kinds of fungus can be behind athlete’s foot, and they cause it by living on dead skin, hair or toenails.
Athlete’s foot consists of three different kinds of infections. The most common variety is called interdigital and grows between the toes, usually the two smallest. It often causes scaling, itching and burning and can move to the rest of the foot. Interdigital infections can also be called toe web infections.
An infection on the sole called moccasin infection. It causes the skin to crack and thicken and is accompanied by dry skin, itching, scaling and irritation. It can move to the sides of feet.
Fluid-filled blisters are a symptom of the least popular athlete’s foot infection, a vesicular disease. The blisters appear suddenly on the sole, heel, top of the foot or between the toes.
Since you can have scaly and itchy feet without having athlete’s foot, to diagnose skin cells must be scraped off and examined under a microscope.
Athlete’s foot is easily preventable. Wear flip flops in wet public areas like showers, wash your feet often, and wear breathable shoes. Make sure your feet are dry at all times.
Untreated, athlete’s foot can travel to the rest of the body including the groin and palms of the hands. It is contagious, so those with athlete’s foot should be careful not to spread it.
Onychomycosis, or toenail fungus, is a fungal infection underneath the toenail. Like athlete’s foot, it can be easily contracted through damp, warm public places where fungus can grow. The toenail fungus grows underneath the nail and can get there through cracks in the nail or skin.
Besides those that are often in damp public places, people who are more susceptible to toenail fungus are those with nail injuries, diabetes, immune problems and circulatory problems. A case of athlete’s foot can also contribute.
When toenail fungus is present, the nail can change color, grow thicker and have a foul smell as well as pain in the area. Dirt can collect underneath the nail, and white marks may appear. When the nails grow thicker, they are harder and painful to trim and may cause pain when wearing shoes.
Symptoms of toenail fungus are nails that are embarrassing or ugly but can also result in more severe problems such as the spreading of fungus. It might affect your foot’s ability to perform daily activities like walking.
To prevent toenail fungus, follow most of the advice given for athlete’s foot. Keep your feet clean and dry, wear breathable shoes, wear shoes in public showers, change your socks regularly, and clip toenails straight across and short.
Toe infections sound scary, but they’re infections of the nails, most commonly caused by ingrown toenails. The toenail grows into the side of the toe, into the soft tissue there, and the skin begins to grow over it. It can get infected very quickly and is most commonly seen in big toes. This condition is painful, and an infection can be a serious problem.
Ingrown toenails can be treated at home, but a podiatrist should see infected toes.
How Do You Get Rid of Foot Fungus?
Athlete’s Foot Cure
An antifungal medication can be applied topically to the infected area to treat athlete’s foot. The feet should be kept dry at all times to maintain the fungus from growing. In some cases, an oral antifungal medication must be taken.
How to Best Treat Toenail Fungus
You can use simple home remedies to get rid of toenail fungus. Or a podiatrist can take care of toenail fungus, particularly if it is caught early. Topical or oral treatments can also work on toenail fungus, as well as the removal of the infected nail. A temporary removal can work to treat the area, but a permanent removal so that the bad nail won’t grow back can also be performed.
How to Treat a Toe Infection
If your ingrown toenail is infected, it should be addressed by a podiatrist. They will numb the toe and remove the offending part. Sometimes antibiotics will be prescribed to help heal the infection and prevent more.
Home Remedies For Foot Fungus
There are many home remedies, both proven and unproven, for athlete’s foot, toenail fungus and other foot problems. Soaking the foot in a diluted vinegar or bleach solution is said to help cure athlete’s foot. Use baking soda or cornstarch and sprinkle it on the feet to keep them dry or remove odor.
Anti-fungal products can do wonders for toenail fungus. Olive leaf extract is not only anti-fungal but also antibacterial. Orange oil, another anti-fungal ingredient, can be applied to the affected nails to cure toenail fungus. Lavender or oregano oil can also be used.
To treat ingrown toenails at home that are not infected or just beginning to get affected, soak the foot in warm water and Epsom salts, wedge cotton or something else soft underneath the nail to prop it up, and add antibacterial cream.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a miracle cure for a lot of things. It’s also one of the number one remedies for foot fungus. Soak the feet in a bath of apple cider vinegar, Epsom salt, and warm water twice daily, and it will kill toenail fungus and athlete’s foot.
You can even take it internally to double your efforts. Apple cider vinegar in warm water with some honey makes a very healthy drink that will do its part on the inside.
Similar to other essential oils, castor oil has been used for toenail fungus for ages. It’s disinfecting effect not only kills the fungus but also minimizes further infection. With its many uses and benefits, castor oil is one of the most used essential oils today.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties to help cure your fungal infections as well. Soaking the feet in water mixed with tea tree oil will kill the fungus, especially if you follow it up by massaging the oil directly into the skin. It will not only kill the fungus but keep it from spreading.
Nothing can replace seeing a doctor for fungal infections, but there are home remedies you can use at home to cure it yourself.
It’s important to see a physician if your symptoms spread or worsen. Prevent foot infections by keeping your feet clean, dry and well cared for.