Foot Fungus: A fungal infection in the feet can lead to pretty embarrassing problems like redness, itching, scaling, discolored nails, ingrown toenails, fissures, cracks and blisters that would only worsen with time. In certain cases, the fissures and blisters become so severe that they start bleeding or oozing pus/fluid.
This would increase the chances of contracting secondary infections. And in the worst case scenario, the fungus infecting the feet can spread to other areas of the body and cause infections in these areas as well.
Common Causes for Foot Fungus
A lot of factors can contribute to the growth of foot fungus in individuals. The fungus are more susceptible to moist environments and can easily spread from one person to another via socks, shoes, clothing, floors, locker rooms and even public swimming pools and toilets.Ill-fitting shoes can also contribute to foot fungus. Women tend to be more susceptible to foot fungus infections in this case owing to airtight shoes that cause the feet to sweat excessively (a potential breeding ground for the foot fungus). A weakened immune system (caused by certain diseases and medications taken to relieve them) can also lead to the unchecked growth of the foot fungus. A body with a weak immune system would not be able to fight off the bacteria and fungi causing the infection and would be more vulnerable to secondary infections as well.
Types of Foot Fungus
Different kinds of foot fungi cause different types of infections in the feet. The most common forms of foot fungi and their infections include:
Usually caused by the HPV type 1 human papillomavirus, plantar warts lead to ingrown toenails which gradually start prodding the blood vessels and bones in the toes, causing extreme pain and discomfort. Plantar warts also appear as hard, painful growths (called as „corns‟) on the soles.
Also called as Tinea Peds, this particular fungal infection is the work of the highly contagious ringworm fungus, and leads to the development of cracks and fissures in the feet. Athlete‟s foot also causes an itching/burning sensation on the feet coupled with a very foul odor (emanated by the evolving fungi).
Also called as Onychomycosis, nail fungus is usually caused by the trichophyton rubrum fungus which leads to the thickening of the toe nails (which become brittle wit time), nail discoloration, chipping, flaking and a foul odor.
Certain Homemade Remedies for Foot Fungus
Here are some of the more common home remedies for foot that would offer extended relief from the symptoms of the condition in addition to getting rid of the bacteria and fungi behind the infection.
OTC Antifungal Medications
Certain OTC antifungal medications, solutions, sprays and creams contain potent ingredients like miconazole, undecylenic acid and tolnaftate which help curb the foot fungus from spreading. Applying these medications on the infected areas at least twice every day can effectively treat the infection and bring down the symptoms of the same.
A variety of foot soaks can help reduce the symptoms of foot fungal infections. These include:
Hydrogen Peroxide Soak
Soaking the feet in a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide and water (mixed in the ratio 2:1) for several minutes can help reduce cracks and fissures in the feet, and get rid of the fungi thriving in these areas as well.
Soaking the infected areas of the feet in a lukewarm saline solution (combine 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 glass of water for the same purpose) for about 30 minutes can help get rid of foot fungus and its symptoms effectively.
Tea Bag Soak
Tea bags contain
tannic acid, a substance that can help treat fungal infections and reduce its
symptoms. A tea bag soak (soak at least 6 bags of black tea in 1 quart lukewarm
water for the same purpose) for about 15 minutes every day would also help
soothe the pain and discomfort caused by the infection.
Soaking the infected feet in diluted vinegar solution for 20 minutes (vinegar and water mixed in the ration 1:4) at least twice a day can also prove to be effective in treating foot fungus and providing relief from its symptoms.
Keeping the feet dry constantly can prevent the foot fungus from multiplying and spreading. A dry environment would be unfavorable for the foot fungus which usually thrives in moist places. Drying the feet properly after washing it can help. Use towels or handheld hair driers to dry the feet, especially the areas between the toes.
Rinsing the feet with soap solution at regular intervals throughout the day can help get rid of the foot fungus and curb its symptoms. Diluted lemon juice (lemon juice and water mixed in the ration 1:2) and diluted vinegar juice can also be used to rinse the infected areas of the feet at regular intervals in order to get rid of the infection (and the foot fungus) effectively. Make sure to dry the feet properly afterwards.
Individuals prone to excessive sweating can get relief from foot fungus and its symptoms by applying some powder over the feet at regular intervals throughout the day. The powder would absorb excess moisture in the feet and keep them dry for longer intervals.Excellent examples of natural foot powders you can use for the same purpose include cornstarch powder, baking soda, raw garlic (in powdered form) and powdered Aspirin tablets.
Applying a homemade foot mask can also help curb the symptoms of a foot fungal infection, and get rid of the bacteria/fungi causing it as well. An excellent mask for the same involves adding 5-6 drops of olive oil to crushed garlic cloves (2-3 pieces) to form a paste which needs to be applied directly above the infected areas. The paste can be washed off after about 30 minutes with lukewarm water. The remedy needs to be repeated at least for a month for extended relief and to prevent recurrences.
Wearing shoes for longer intervals can contribute to foot fungal infections. Remaining bare foot during a foot fungal infection can therefore prevent the infection from spreading and offer relief from its symptoms.Wearing open toed shoes, sandals or flip flops is considered a wise decision when fighting off a foot fungal infection. Removing the shoes and airing out the feet at regular intervals can also be beneficial. Sprinkling some baking soda or cornstarch powder in the shoes can get rid of fungus that would have latched on to the shoes and could possibly trigger a re-infection.
Diet for Foot Fungus
In addition to treating a foot fungus by external means, there are certain dietary habits that can treat the infection from inside the body as well. Accordingly, some of the dietary inclusions of foot fungus treatment include:
Adding plenty of garlic to an existing diet can prove to be effective in treating foot fungus and its symptoms. Garlic contains potent antifungal properties that would help get rid of the virus causing the infection quickly and effectively.Garlic also contains antibiotic and antiseptic properties that would help promote quick healing from a foot fungal infection.
Yogurt contains plenty of healthy bacteria called acidophilus which can tackle the unhealthy bacteria and fungi causing the infection. Therefore, eating at least 3 cups of yogurt every day can treat a foot fungal infection and bring down its symptoms almost instantly.