Athlete's Foot (cont.)

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What home remedies are available for athlete's foot?

Multiple home remedies are available, including vinegar soaks, dilute Clorox soaks, and shampoos like Head & Shoulders or Selsun Blue. Other reported but unverified remedies have included Vicks Vapor Rub and Epsom salts.

  • Dilute vinegar soaks or sprays (roughly one part white household vinegar to four parts water)
  • Dilute Clorox baths or soaks (approximately ¼ cup household Clorox bleach in one bathtub of water)

How can I treat athlete's foot in pregnancy?

Treatment options during pregnancy may include dilute vinegar soaks or sprays (roughly one part white household vinegar to four parts water) and Lotrimin cream twice a day for two to three weeks to the soles. Antifungal pills are generally not recommended during pregnancy because of the potential side effects and possible fetal harm. Always check with your OB/GYN before using any medication or treatment during pregnancy.

When should I seek medical care?

If you notice any redness, increased swelling, bleeding, or if your infection is not clearing up, see your health-care professional. If a bacterial infection is also occurring, an antibiotic pill may be necessary. If you have fungal nail involvement, are diabetic, or have a compromised immune system, you should also see your physician for treatment.

What are possible complications of athlete's foot?

Untreated, athlete's foot can potentially spread to other body parts or other people, including family members. Fungus may spread locally to the legs, toenails, hands, fingernails, and essentially any body area.

  • Fungal nail infection (onychomycosis)
  • Groin fungus (tinea cruris)
  • Body skin fungus (tinea corporis)
  • Secondary bacterial infections

This type of fungus generally likes to live in the skin, hair, and nails. It does not invade deep, go into body organs, or go into the blood system.

Fungal infections of the nails are called tinea unguium or onychomycosis. Nail fungus may be very difficult to treat. Antifungal pills may be required in cases of more advanced toenail fungal infections.

People with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer, or other immune problems may be more prone to all kinds of infections, including fungus. In patients with diabetes, fungal infections may lead to potentially dangerous foot ulcerations.

When the skin is injured by fungus, the natural protective skin barrier is broken. Bacteria and yeasts can then invade the broken skin. Bacteria can cause a bad smell. Bacterial infection of the skin and resulting inflammation is known as cellulitis. This is especially likely to occur in individuals with diabetes, chronic leg swelling, who have had veins removed (such as for heart bypass surgery), or in the elderly. Bacterial skin infections also occur more frequently in patients with impaired immune systems.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/19/2013

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