Athlete’s Foot

Overview

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.

Tinea manuum

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)
  • moulds

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.

As with all diseases this did not happen overnight. The very first thing you must do is see a licensed health professional. Find a list of practitioners in your local area here.

Here are some things you can discuss with your practitioner:

Health protocols

Detox:

  • Do the Hydrogen Peroxide Protocol to strengthen the immune system:
  • Drink 3oz of Colloidal Silver, three or four times a day for 60 days www.colloidsforlife.com Silver has long been recognised as a powerful natural antibiotic. Colloidal silver is silver that has been removed electronically from its source and then suspended in water.  It is used to treat a myriad of diseases.

Applications:

  • Terrasil Max
  • Allicin C Gel

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.

Supplements:

  • 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.

Ayurvedic Medicine

Ayurveda believes that the kapha-pitta types that sweat a lot are more likely to get athlete’s foot. We recommend you visit a licensed health practitioner but there are some easy remedies you can make at home, using common ingredients.

Begin by cleaning the infected area using a cotton swab and tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic oil and can be found in health stores.

After cleaning, apply a mixture of turmeric and aloe vera gel. Combine 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric. Apply two times per day for 2 weeks.

Be a little careful with this treatment as it will turn not only your feet yellow, but anything else that comes in contact with the mixture will turn yellow also. Maybe use an old pair of socks that you can throw away later.

The next treatment is using neem soap to wash your feet. Then dry them thoroughly and apply 1/4 teaspoon of neem oil mixed with 8-10 drops of tea tree oil. Apply this mixture on the infected area with a cotton swab.

A reduction in excess kapha-vata will also help to bring this under control. All of these remedies for athlete’s foot are safe and natural as opposed to harsh chemicals that can contain toxic formulations.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

We recommend you visit a licensed health practitioner for their recommendations. However there is a foot soak that you can make at home
According to TCM, there are three different types of athlete’s foot – blistering, erosive and keratinized – all of which have the tell-tale itching and smell.

Blistering obviously means there are blisters. The erosive type is whitish with exudate, generally between the toes, and turns red after scratching. Keratinized is generally dry and characterized by peeling skin. These types may be present all at the same time or occur one after another. This particular recipe is for the erosive type and consists of two parts: a soak followed by a dry powder dusted onto the affected areas.

Soak:

  • Yi Yi Ren – pearl barley 30g
  • Gan Cao – licorice root 30g

Soak the two herbs in water for one hour, bring to a boil, then turn down and simmer for another 15 minutes. When the herbal tea has cooled but is still warm, soak your foot or apply the liquid with a wet compress for about 20 minutes. Let the foot dry and dust it with a powder made of the following:

  • Liu Yi San* – Six to One powder 15g
  • Ku Fan – alum 10g
  • Huang Bai – phellodendron bark 10g
  • Bing Pian – synthetic borneol 1g
  • Bai Zhi – dahurian angelica 10g

*Note: Liu Yi San is a powder consisting of six parts Shi Gao (talcum) and one part Gan Cao (licorice).

Repeat 2-3 times a day until symptoms subside. In the meantime, do not drink alcohol, and stay away from shellfish and greasy, fatty foods. This will help prevent the internal accumulation of dampness and help the athlete’s foot subside quickly. And remember to change your socks frequently.

Aromatherapy

Tea tree oil, patchouli, or geranium, clove oil and sage oil can be applied topically to the infected areas.

Homeopathic Medicine

We recommend you consult a licensed practitioner who may discuss the following remedies: Calendula, Chamomilla, Belladonna, Merc sol., and Sulfur.

Herbs

Fungicidal herbs are an effective topical treatment for athlete’s foot. Examples are myrrh, tea tree, and garlic. Tea tree oil can also be applied directly or diluted with calendula oil for application to sensitive skin. Soaking the affected area in grapefruit seed extract can also be helpful, as can taking grapefruit seed extract orally.

Other useful herbal topical applications include citrus seed extract, honey and crushed garlic, and pau d’arco tea (wet tea bag for ten minutes and then leave the bag itself on the area or use gauze or cotton soaked in tea if area is too large).

Other

The best way to prevent athlete’s foot is to always practise good foot hygiene.

The following steps will help keep your feet clean and hygienic:

  • Wash your feet thoroughly every day, particularly between your toes.
  • Reduce foot perspiration by using talcum powder on your feet.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting footwear, particularly during the summer.
  • Do not put on socks, tights or stockings before your feet are completely dry.
  • Change your socks, stockings or tights regularly.
  • If possible, wear pool slippers or flip-flops in communal changing rooms or shower areas.
  • Alternating footwear can help ensure that you wear dry shoes at all times.
  • Avoid borrowing shoes to lower the risk of spreading the infection.
  • Wash your towels and bedding frequently.

White Vinegar

Soaking your feet in a solution of warm water and organic vinegar (about half a cup) can also help to combat the sweating and odour. Dry feet afterwards but don’t rinse.

Cornstarch, eucalyptus and aloe vera are all beneficial.

Raw Honey – This has known healing and therapeutic properties. http://www.benefits-of-honey.com/athlete-foot.html

Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is a powerful anti-fungal and it forms a protective barrier on the skin. As a bonus, your feet will become softer and the skin more supple too. Coconut oil can also replace other foot or body lotions on an on-going basis for anti-fungal protection and simply to reduce the number of chemicals applied to your skin.

Flower Essences:

Rescue Remedy Cream®; Crab Apple.

Alternative Professional Care

If your symptoms persist despite the above measures, seek the help of a qualified health professional. The following professional care therapies have all been shown to be useful for treating and relieving the symptoms of athlete’s foot: Environmental Medicine, Magnetic Field Therapy, Naturopathic Medicine and Oxygen Therapy (ozone/oxygen mixture may work as an effective anti-fungal agent and may easily be applied externally.) See glossary for full explanations.

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

Video

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

Research

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

Links:

Vitamin A

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

www.desertessence.com

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