Athlete’s foot is the most common fungal infection of the skin, characterized by fungal growth on the skin of the foot and occasionally on the toenails. Often, an itchy red rash develops in the spaces between the toes.
As well as being itchy, the skin in the affected area may be scaly, flaky and dry. The medical name for athlete’s foot is tinea pedis.
Symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, burning, and stinging sensations, as well as scaling, cracking, and inflammation of the skin between the toes and on the soles of the feet. The skin may also be red and flaky.
You may also have other symptoms such as:
- blisters (which may be oozing or crusting)
- swollen skin
- burning or stinging skin
- scaling patterns around your sole and on the side of your foot
If you have severe athlete’s foot, your skin may begin to crack. This can sometimes expose the raw tissue underneath, which can be particularly painful and increase your risk of developing a bacterial infection.
Spread of infection
Athlete’s foot often develops between the little toe and the one next to it. If the infection is not treated, a rash can form on the bottom and sides of your feet. The infection can also spread to your toenails, causing them to become dry and crumbly.
Scratching the infected skin and then touching other parts of your body can spread the infection. Therefore, it is important to treat the infection promptly. Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching the rash.
The fungal infection that causes athlete’s foot can sometimes be spread to the hands. This is known as tinea manuum and it can occur if you touch the infected skin on your feet and do not wash your hands afterwards.
However, it is very rare for athlete’s foot to be passed to the hands. If it does occur, it usually affects the palm of one hand, which can become dry, red and itchy.
Athlete’s foot is caused by a fungal infection of one or both feet.
Everyone has bacteria and fungi on their skin. Most of the time they are harmless and do not cause problems.
However, at certain times – for example in moist, warm conditions – the fungi can grow and multiply, causing your skin to become infected. The infectious fungal species thrives in warmth and dampness and is prevalent in gym locker rooms and around indoor swimming pools.
What are fungi?
Fungi are organisms that are similar to plants. They feed off broken-down tissue, including human tissue. Unlike plants, they cannot produce food using energy from sunlight (photosynthesis).
Athlete’s foot is caused by a group of fungi called dermatophytes. Dermatophytes are parasitic, which means they feed off other organisms to survive. Your feet provide a warm, dark and humid environment, ideal conditions for dermatophytes to grow.
Dermatophytes can cause fungal infections to develop in areas such as the outer layers of the skin, nails, scalp and hair.
Many other types of fungi can cause various infections. However, the main groups that cause fungal infections such as athlete’s foot are:
- dermatophytes (tinea)
- yeasts (candida)
People with athlete’s feet many times also have candidiasis (systemic yeast overgrowth) in the gastrointestinal tract. This must be treated for long-term relief of athlete’s foot.
How it spreads
Athlete’s foot is very contagious and can be spread through direct and indirect contact:
- Direct contact – this involves skin-to-skin contact. For example, someone may become infected if they touch the affected area of your skin and do not wash their hands afterwards.
- Indirect contact – this is where the fungi can be passed on through contaminated objects such as towels, bed sheets and clothing.
Communal showers, swimming pools and changing rooms are common places where athlete’s foot is spread. Like your feet, these places are usually warm and humid, which encourages bacteria and fungi to multiply.
Eat a whole foods diet with emphasis on raw food and less dairy products. Avoid foods high in yeast such as beer and breads with yeast. Avoid sugar of all sorts (including honey and fruit juices) for some weeks while antifungal methods are being used. Garlic and alfalfa are also beneficial.
- Vitamin D has been shown to be a key factor in helping to combat athlete’s foot. Take Vitamin D3 50,000-100,000 International Units a day for periods of up to four weeks at a time.
- Wholefood supplements are the best way of ensuring your nutritional needs are met. The best we know on the market is Kevin Trudeau’s “KT Daily” product. You can find more details here.
- Vitamin C www.livonlabs.com
- Zamu juice www.amazonherb.net
- Take Fivelac – one packet three times a day
Nutritional Supplementation: The following supplements, taken alone or in combination with each other, are all useful in helping to prevent and treat athlete’s foot: Acidophilus, Bifidobacteria and L. bulgaricus, garlic capsules, vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc.
Prescription and non-prescription medication:
What non-prescription and prescription drugs are you taking? Your non-prescription and prescription are partially the reason that you have this illness or disease – you need to get off these medications but do so only under the guidance of a licensed health care practitioner.
Raw Honey as a remedy: www.howtoadvice.com/AthletesFoot
Cornstarch, cider vinegar and tea tree oil cure: www.dailyglow.com/askquestion/athlete-s-foot-home-treatment-using-cornstarch-tea
Candida overgrowth – could it be the cause of your athlete’s foot? www.naturalcures.com/health-tips/887-candida-101
Herbal treatments for athlete’s foot: www.ehow.com/video_7462826_herbal-treatment-problems-athlete_s-foot.html
Athlete’s foot and home Ayurveda treatment: www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WtT0bnzbRA
Coconut oil a natural cure: www.naturalnews.com/027987_athletes_foot_natural_remedies.html
Sweet fennel: www.naturalnews.com/032008_sweet_fennel_remedies.html
Strengthening the immune system combats athlete’s foot: www.naturalnews.com/029024_immune_system_natural_remedies.html
Further Information (links and books)
The Foot Book: A Complete Guide to Healthy Feet (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book) by Jonathan D. Rose; The Athlete’s Foot Book of Home Remedies by Jordan Metzi and Mike Zimmerman; TOP TIPS TO CURE FUNGAL TOENAIL INFECTION: How to: The Treatment and Cure of Toe Nail and Fingernail Fungus and Athlete’s Foot by Martin Crow
Probiotics, Jarrowdophilus + FOS
www.jarrow.com (310) 204-6936
Garlic capsules, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract
www.kyolic.com (800) 421-2998
Grapefruit Seed Extract, NutriBiotic
www.nutribiotic.com (800) 225-4345
Tea tree oil, Desert Essence
Vitamin B complex, Max Stress B Nano-Plex
www.vpnutrition.com (877) 335-1509
Vitamin C, Beyond C
www.longevityplus.com (800) 580-7587
Vitamin E, Natural Vitamin E Complex
www.4spectrum.us (800) 581-8906
Zinc, Zinc Food Complex
www.newchapter.com (800) 543-7279