Athlete’s foot or foot fungus and toenail fungus affects people of all ages. It is itchy and ugly and can destroy your toenails. Here are six tips to keep your feet fungus-free and beautiful.
Foot fungus can be hard to treat — the best strategy is to keep your feet from getting fungus in the first place. Always wear flip-flops in places like public showers, locker rooms, and pools (walking on your tip-toes across the locker room floor won’t protect you). Don’t share towels, shower sponges, shoes, or socks. Wash your socks in hot water every time you wear them.
Keep your feet dry. You should wash your feet everyday, including between the toes (you know you don’t). Then dry your feet completely, including between the toes (you know you don’t); you can even use a hair dryer before putting on your socks. If you have sweaty feet, consider using a foot antiperspirant to minimize wetness. Wear loose fitting, synthetic socks that allow your feet to breathe and wick moisture away.
Apply an antifungal foot cream to your feet and toes everyday. Any over the counter antifungal cream will work; I recommend generic clotrimazole cream because its effective and a lot less expensive than other antifungals. If you don’t like applying cream, then try antifungal foot sprays such as Tinactin® (tolnaftate) or antifungal foot powders such as Desenex® (miconaozle).
The best treatment for nail fungus is oral antifungal pills. However, pills, such as Lamisil® (terbenifine) or Nizoral® (ketoconazole), can have serious side effects and require blood tests to monitor for complications. Combining oral antifugals with a topical antifungal cream everyday gives you the best chance of a cure. If you want to treat toenail fungus at home, then consider applying Vicks VapoRub® to your nails everyday. You can also try soaking your feet in a solution of one part Listerine with one part white vinegar. The alcohols in the Vicks VapoRub® and in the Listerine® might help eliminate the fungus. A third option is to try applying tea tree oil to your nails everyday. None of these home remedies are likely to cure toenail fungus, but they can help improve the appearance of your nails and are relatively harmless. Unfortunately, if your toenails are completely infected with fungus, there is less than 50% chance you will have a complete, long-lasting cure. Even with the strongest antifungal treatments available, only 50-70% of people clear their toenails; and those who are cured become reinfected 50% of the time!
Keep your toenails clean and trimmed short. You can scrape the crumbly material from under your nails, but do it gently. Vigorous scraping won’t clean out nail fungus and will cause your nail to lift off your toe or to fall off all together. Remember to wash your hands after every time you touch your feet or nails and to clean your toenail clipper and nail files with alcohol before using them again.
If you have successfully eliminated your foot fungus or toenail fungus, remember that you still are at risk of getting the fungus again. Consider getting new sneakers, sandals and socks, and apply an antifungal foot cream or powder to your feet everyday to prevent a regrowth of fungus on your now fungus-free feet.
Post written by Jeffrey Benabio, MD.
Malaria mosquitoes utilize CO2 from exhaled air to localize humans from afar. In the vicinity of their preferred host, they alter their course towards the human feet. Researcher Remco Suer discovered how female malaria mosquitoes use foot odors in the last meters to guide them to their favoured biting place. Suer, who is defending his doctoral thesis May 9 at Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, sees possibilities to disrupt the host seeking behaviour of the malaria mosquito.