A common disorder of the feet, Athlete’s foot is a condition, wherein, the soles develop scales or blisters, and cause uncomfortable itching. It’s mainly caused by a fungus and can be highly contagious. Scientifically known as tinea pedis, the athlete’s foot usually begins between the toes for people whose feet are too sweaty from wearing tight-fitting shoes. It can also be caused by contact allergy, bacterial infection, intertrigo, and occasionally, psoriasis. Though easily treated with anti-fungal medications, the doctor can recommend oral medication in severe cases.
Now that you know what causes athlete’s foot, let’s dig deeper into the symptoms before we move on to the best ways to cure it.
Athlete’s Foot: Symptoms
Following are the symptoms of athlete’s foot, based on which, you can start the treatment :
– Scaly red rash between the toes
– Blisters and ulcers from extreme dryness of the soles
– Raw skin on the feet
– Crumbly toenails, especially the ones that pull away from the nail bed
– Cracking, peeling of the skin on the feet
Athlete’s Foot: Treatment
Athlete’s foot is fairly easy to diagnose and treat, as the infection is distinctly visible. Treating the condition doesn’t usually require any major surgery; prescribed medication works fairly well, and is a cost-effective method for treatment. Here are five absolute ways to go about curing athlete’s foot:
- Over-the-counter medication
In its initial stages – as soon as you’ve diagnosed the condition at home – athlete’s foot can be curbed with over-the-counter topical antifungal medications such as Terbinafine, Clotrimazole, Butenafine, Miconazole, and Tolnaftate. These topical creams/ointments are easily available at any drug store, and have proven to be effective in treating athlete’s foot without having to go to a doctor.
- Prescribed medication
For relatively more severe cases, your doctor may prescribe prescription-strength Clotrimazole or Miconazole, steroid medication to reduce inflammation or antibiotics that will help reduce any further bacterial infection. Along with treating blisters, this course can also reduce the dryness of the affected parts of your feet.
- Oral medication
Itraconazole, fluconazole and prescription-strength Terbinafine have proven to be extremely effective in treating athlete’s foot orally. Your doctor may also prescribe a 2-4 week-long course, depending upon the severity of the condition.
- Home-based solutions
Easily the best remedy for athlete’s foot you can carry out, dilute vinegar soaks or sprays are a tried and tested method of treating the condition at home. Simply mix one part white household vinegar in four parts water, and soak your feet for 10-15 minutes daily until the infection subsides. Vinegar is rich in anti-fungal properties, which makes it the ideal solution for curbing fungus.
- Alternative therapy
According to a scientific study published in 2002 in the Australian Journal of Dermatology, the application of tea tree oil on the infected area effectively treated athlete’s foot in 64% of the trial participants. Used as an alternative approach to the afore-mentioned, tea tree oil has proven to be incredibly successful in the treatment of this condition.
Often regarded as the best treatment for athlete’s foot at home, tea tree oil is known to even kill the germs that are resistant to antibiotics. Therefore, ask your doctor for a tea tree oil solution as a way to go about curing the condition.
Dermatologists all over the world vouch for the above-mentioned treatments, however, every case is different. Hence, consult a professional in your area before you chart a course of the treatment on your own.