Athlete’s foot is a very common skin problem, causing itching and sometimes discomfort. The skin between the toes or elsewhere on the foot sometimes becomes very irritated and peels or cracks, which is when the condition becomes painful.
Although it can be all too easy to catch athlete’s foot by going barefoot in a public shower or changing room, there are also some pretty easy ways to bid it goodbye. That is what this reader discovered as a teenager:
Q. When I was in high school, I developed a case of athlete’s foot from not drying my feet properly after gym class.
My doctor back then told me to go barefoot for the summer. He said the sun would knock the infection out and I would not have a problem.
Well, that summer I went barefoot every chance I got. I got a beautiful tan while playing or just doing summer activities, and my feet were tanned too.
There was no more athlete’s foot bothering me and I have not had athlete’s foot ever since.
Athlete’s Foot Fungus
A. Athlete’s foot is usually caused by a fungal infection (Trichophyton rubrum). This organism, like most other fungi, loves dark damp places, which is why it thrives between the toes.
Eliminating the darkness and the damp by going barefoot in the summer is an easy fix.
Keep in mind, though, that going barefoot inside (in a shower room, for example) with an active case of athlete’s foot could spread it to others. Wearing flip-flops would be thoughtful.
There are a number of other simple home remedies that can help with athlete’s foot if going barefoot or wearing sandals is not a practical option. Many people report that soaking the feet regularly in a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water can make the skin inhospitable to fungus.
Others like to add a bit of Listerine to the soak. The herbal oils in Listerine have antifungal activity, which is why Listerine is also helpful against some cases of nail fungus.
Another individual soaks the affected feet in a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide and nine parts water. Just one soaking session usually keeps the athlete’s foot away for months.