Q&A: What Can I Do For Recurring Foot Fungus?

man with feet upQ: What can I do for recurring foot fungus? – R. J.

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A: Foot fungus causes peeling, redness, itching, burning and sometimes blisters and sores.

The fungus grows best in a warm, moist environment such as shoes, socks, swimming pools, locker rooms and the floors of public showers. It is most common in the summer and in warm, humid climates. It occurs more often in people who wear tight shoes and who use community baths and pools.

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Try combinations of these ideas to prevent or remedy foot fungus:

  • If your doctor prescribes medication take the full course. The fungus may still be present long after it is no longer visible as a rash.
  • Keep feet clean, cool and dry. Change socks. Wear shoes that “breathe” like leather, rather than plastic If you can, change shoes twice a day.
  • Make sure shoes fit correctly and are not too tight.
  • For a soothing foot soak, add two teaspoons of salt to two cups of warm water. Soak your feet for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat this soak at frequent intervals until your feet are completely healed.
  • Tea contains tannic acid, a natural astringent that works wonderfully to dry out sweaty feet. Steep five tea bags in a litre of boiling water for five minutes. Let cool to lukewarm, then soak your feet in this “tea bath” for 30 minutes.
  • Plain yogurt containing live acidophilus bacteria is an instant remedy for athlete’s foot. These friendly microorganisms keep the fungus in check. Simply dab the yogurt on the infected areas, let dry, and rinse off. (But don’t use the flavoured kind!)
  • Add a few drops of mustard oil or a bit of mustard powder to a footbath. Mustard will help to kill the fungus. Soak your feet in the bath for up to half an hour.
  • Apply an anti-fungal cream, like Lotrimin or Lamisil, or a prescription antifungal cream to the bottom of the feet and on the nails about twice a week. This may help prevent early re-growth of the fungus. In some cases, an oral medication may be prescribed.
  • Avoid walking barefoot, especially in bathrooms, locker rooms, gyms, on carpeting, and in public bathing areas. Wear slippers or stand on a towel or piece of paper.