Athlete’s foot, or tinea pedis is a very common contagious skin condition that affects the skin between the toes (interdigital space) and the sole of the foot. It is characterized by a scaly, red, itchy eruption and occasionally weepy and oozing. An initial sign of contraction is always a red itchy rash in the spaces between the toes, which often occurs between the 4th and 5th toes and between the 3rd and 4th toes At times, small pustules that is usually a result of infection may also appear.
Although the name sounds to reflect that only athletes are prone to or contracted the disease, on the other hand, the fact is that it affects the feet of athletes and non-athletes alike. There are three common types of fungal athlete’s foot, including soles of the feet, also called “moccasin” type; between the toes, also called “interdigital” type; and inflammatory type or blistering. While it is not a life-or-death matter, persistent athlete’s can be very painful and make walking difficult.
Most experts think the disease is only caused by a fungus called Trichophyton rubrum despite the fact that there are a variety of fungi causing it. As the fungi require a warm, dark, and humid environment in order to grow, they can be contracted in many locations, including gyms, molded rooms, carpets, counters, towels, rugs, locker rooms, bed sheets, pet (via petting), bathtubs, shower, floors, sinks, swimming pools, carpets, nail salons, and from contaminated socks and clothing.
People with tight interdigital spaces are believed are more prone to contract athlete’s foot. Once contracted, the disease may linger for a longer period as tight interdigital space is usually conducive to fungal proliferation.
There are several types of anti-fungal creams for topical uses, including terbinafine (Lamisil), clottrimazole (Lotrimin) and other similar medications. For more severe cases, prescription oral medications may also be required.
Typical side effects of topical anti-fungal may include burning, stinging, swelling, irritation, redness, pimple-like bumps, tenderness, or flaking of the treated skin.
Many people may at times overlook the importance to watch sugar intake in helping to heal athlete’s foot. Sugar feeds fungi, so cutting out the sugar may help eliminate the disease faster and prevent it from spreading to other adjacent areas.
Make sure that you always keep your feet clean and dry. Wash your feet with a washcloth and neutral soap. Then, make sure that you dry the whole foot, especially the interdigital spaces. Pat dry your feet last in order not to spread the fungi to other parts of the body. Ensure not to reuse the washcloth or towel until they have been laundered.
Socks made of Coolmax or Thermax and other materials that keep moisture away from the affected area is said would help keep your feet dry and bacteria free. When buying socks, look for sports socks or sock liners made of these materials at camping outfitters and sporting goods stores.
Besides fungi, there are many other possible causes of food rashes, including irritant or contact dermatitis, allergic rashes from shoes or some creams, dyshidrotic eczema (skin allergy rash), psoriasis, yeast infections, and bacterial infections. Since they can be visually indistinguishable especially by untrained personnel, it would be best to get your doctor to identify the precise cause.
So, the first thing you should do before trying some natural home remedies and adopt lifestyle changes is to get the disease properly diagnosed by your doctor. If your doctor confirms that the disease actually caused by a fungus, then you may proceed.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a potent antiseptic and also has antifungal properties that will help destroy the fungus and prevent it from spreading. Mix equal parts of pure tea tree oil and olive oil. Rub the ointment on the affected area twice a day. Continue the process for several weeks to prevent recurrence. Aloe vera gel may be used as an alternative to olive oil.
Antifungal, antiseptic, and antiperspirant properties of cinnamon make it an effective remedial herb for athlete’s foot. Grind 10 cinnamon sticks into powder and then keep it in air tight container. Add 1 tablespoon of the powder into 4 cups of hot water. Soak your feet in the solution up to 15 minutes. Then thoroughly pat dry the affected area. Repeat the process daily before going to bed for one to two months.
Besides being antibacterial, olive leaves also are antifungal. Grind 5 fresh olive leaves into a paste and then apply it directly with cotton balls onto the affected area. Leave it for 30 minutes if the athlete’s foot is in interdigital spaces, otherwise, cover the area with tape it is located on the sole. Afterward, rinse the area with lukewarm water and the pat dry thoroughly. Repeat the process once or twice a day for 2 weeks until the problem fully eliminated.
Anyone who has contracted athlete’s foot knows the misery of it as if nothing seems to help to alleviate the itchiness. You may be very surprised when you find that pure oregano oil is really helpful. Use a dropper to put the oregano oil onto the affected area. Use your fingers to spread it around thoroughly. Repeat 2-3 times a day and continue the process until the disease is completely healed.
My experience experimenting with various types of home remedies shows that baking soda is the best solution for athlete’s foot. Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 teaspoons of olive oil thoroughly. I find that baking soda powder is quite miscible in vegetable oils. Rub the mixture between the toes and leave it on for several minutes. I would be best if you leave it on the affected area overnight. Repeat the process twice or thrice a day for several weeks.
Note: The use of highest quality lab grade sodium bicarbonate that can be purchased from any lab chemical supplier would very much help eliminate worrisome of using products containing aluminum.
Sprinkle fine baking soda granules into your shoes and socks every day to prevent recurrence of the fungal infection.
Soaking your feet in 2 liters of lukewarm water, into which 2 tablespoons of sea salt, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and 5 drops of tea tree oil (alternatively, use 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder) are added may also be helpful. Soak your feet for 15 minutes, once a day. Continue the process for several weeks.