An athlete's foot is a fungal infection and is common for all ages. It is also called tinea pedis, which is a contagious fungal infection that affects the skin around the feet. This can even spread to toe and in some cases to my hands. It cannot be said that it is a severe disease but for some, it gets difficult to cure it. It gets problematic when a person suffering from an athlete's foot is also suffering from diabetes or a weak immune system.

Athletes' foot is majorly caused by a variety of fungal infections which lead to jock itch and ringworm. The fungi expand in the closed, warm, and moist atmosphere and feed on the protein found on the skin or hair. This ailment is slightly contagious that can spread through direct contact, using shoes, socks, and towels. Walking barefoot can increase the problem and may spread the infection. The risk of getting infected by an athlete's foot also relies on exposure and hygiene. People who have weak immune systems or diabetes have a higher risk of infection if they have an open cut or sore on their feet.

Below are some of the reasons that can spread this disease:

  • Visiting public places barefoot such as pools, parks, etc.
  • Sharing socks, shoes, etc with an infected person.
  • Keeping your feet dirty or wet for long hours
  • Any injury or wound.

Common signs or symptoms of an Athlete's foot are:

  • Peeled or cracked skin between the toes
  • Itchiness while wearing socks or shoes.
  • Inflamed or irritated skin that may seem reddish, purplish, or grayish.
  • Burning or stinging sensation.
  • Blisters

Essential oils may be a more powerful yet natural way to treat an athlete's foot. Their antifungal and antibacterial properties make them more suitable than available other products and can interfere with and treat fungal skin infections, including athlete's foot and ringworm. Tea Tree Essential Oil and Lavender Essential oil are two essential oils that can help you to treat or prevent the athlete's foot. 

Tea tree essential oil has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is gentle enough to apply but it should be diluted in carrier oil such as almond oil or castor oil before its use, to prevent its adverse reaction.

Lavender Essential Oil is formulated with potent antifungal properties and antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It has very calming and soothing properties that reduce the effect of infection and relaxes the foot.

You can use the essential oils in the following ways:

Cotton Balls:

If a person is experiencing the start of an athlete's foot, take a few drops of tea tree essential oil or lavender essential oil on a cotton ball and place them in between the toes or gently rub it on the affected area.

Foot Soak:

Put 5 to 6 drops of lavender essential oil and tea tree essential oil into half a bucket of water. Soak feet for 15 – 20 minutes every day until the infection is completely cured. You can also use it as a preventative measure.

Foot Massage Oil:

Take the required quantity of carrier oil such as almond or castor oil and add 3 to 4 drops of tea tree essential oil or lavender essential oil. Gently massage onto the foot.

Preventive measures:

  • Cleanse your feet with soap and water every day and dry them entirely, primarily between the toes.
  • Always use clean bed sheets, towels, socks, etc.
  • Put antifungal oil or powder on your feet every day.
  • Don’t share socks, shoes, or towels with others.
  • Always wear sandals or slippers in public places.
  • Wear socks made with comfortable fibers, such as cotton, or synthetic fibers that keep moisture away from your skin.
  • Change your socks or feet clean when your feet get sweaty.
  • Air out your feet when you are at home by going barefoot.
  • Wear shoes made of breathable materials.
  • Alternate between two pairs of shoes, wearing each pair every other day, to give your shoes time to dry out between uses. Moisture will allow the fungus to continue to grow.