Athlete’s foot is a fungal infection that affects the toes or the feet. It’s caused by fungi that feeds on the proteins found in the skin, known as keratin. Athlete’s foot symptoms most commonly occur in the spaces between the toes, the gap between the little toe and the one beside it, or across the bottom of the foot. (1) Conventional athlete’s foot treatment typically includes anti-fungal creams, however there are several athlete’s foot natural remedies that can help treat the root cause.

Athlete’s Foot Causes

  • Walking barefoot on surfaces that can hold germs such as exercise mats or gym floors (2)
  • Not washing the feet or toes well
  • Showering barefoot in public showers
  • Getting nail treatments at a salon that doesn’t sterilize equipment
  • Wearing shoes and socks for most of the day without letting air reach the feet
  • A weakened immune system

Athlete’s Foot Symptoms

  • Itchiness and burning around the toes
  • Cracked, torn or flaky skin on the toes
  • A scaly red rash
  • White coloring of the skin or redness around the toes
  • Swelling and thickening of the skin
  • A “stinky” feet smell
  • In some cases, athlete’s foot symptoms include ulcers and blisters

Athlete’s Foot Natural Remedies

1. Wash, Dry and Protect Your Feet

Practicing good hygiene is one of the most important ways to prevent and heal athlete’s foot. Keeping your feet clean and dry will help prevent a fungal infection from setting in. (3) To prevent bacteria from spreading:

  • Use a clean towel to soak up moisture from your feet before you put on clean shoes and socks
  • Do not share razors, towels, shoes or socks with other people
  • Wear clean, dry socks and wash them in warm water with natural laundry detergent
  • Let air reach your feet when you’re at home
  • Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight
  • Treat any cuts or scrapes on your feet and toes by cleaning them and using a bandage
  • Wear flip flops when showering in a public place, such as a public pool or gym

2. Use Essential Oils

Certain plants have powerful antimicrobial properties that can help treat fungus and bacteria. You can use oregano, tea tree, dill, clove, cinnamon or frankincense to make a homemade anti-fungal mixture that works as an athlete’s foot natural remedy. (4) Mix three drops of oregano oil with two drops of tea tree oil. Add a small amount of a carrier oil, like coconut oil. Stir the oils with a spoon or a clean makeup brush and apply the formula 3-4 times a day as an athlete’s foot treatment. You can also incorporate frankincense oil, dill oil or clove oil to help reduce pain and swelling.

3. Try a Homemade Anti-fungal Cream or Powder

Try making a natural anti-fungal cream or powder at home as an athlete’s foot treatment. If you have ulcers or your toes are bleeding, use caution. For common athlete’s foot symptoms, mix bentonite clay with cinnamon and cayenne powders to make an anti-inflammatory mixture. The clay will help absorb harmful toxins and microorganisms from your body, while the powders will help deter the infection. (5) Apply the mixture twice per day for 1-2 weeks.

4. Strengthen Your Immune System

A weakened immune system is a common risk factor for athlete’s foot. To improve your immune system function, it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. That includes exercising, reducing stress levels and eating a diet full of fresh, whole foods. For an extra immune system boost, add probiotic foods to your diet. They work to help restore the good bacteria that lives in the microbiome, which plays an important role in a healthy immune system. You can also add garlic to your diet. (6) Studies have shown that garlic’s anti-fungal properties can be even more effective against athlete’s foot than some prescription medicines!