What is athlete’s foot?
Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the feet by bacteria or fungi which requires treatment in order to stop this contagious infection. Athlete’s foot gets its name because fungi and bacteria thrive in warm, moist and dark environments such as swimming pools, locker rooms, gyms, showers and of course shoes. Not just limited to athletes, this concern is more common in males than females affecting roughly one out of ten people.
There are three types of Athlete’s foot infection which are:
- Toe Web (Interdigital) – the most common type of infection found between the toes, especially between the fourth and fifth toes.
- Moccasin-type – affecting the soles of the feet which become tender, dry and flaky.
- Acute Vesicular – the least common type, painful blisters appear suddenly due to an allergic reaction to the fungus often accompanied by a bacterial infection.
The usual symptoms of toe web infections include scaling and peeling of skin between the toes, mild pain, odour, blistering and itching of skin. If left untreated, this type of infection can become severe leading to extreme pain, bleeding, large amounts of scaling, painful blisters and can spread to other parts of the body especially if accompanied by a bacterial infection.
Treatment of Athlete’s foot
Like most diseases, the best treatment for athlete’s foot depends upon early detection and the results are often quick and positive. Anti-fungal creams are obtainable from over-the-counter or in worse cases stronger creams may need to be prescribed. Whilst of great benefit in eradicating the fungi, these creams do not offer relief from itching or inflammation and neither do they encourage the healing of cracks and blisters. It is for this reason that I often recommend Hydrosol Silver Gel to be used morning and evening. Silver displays potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Additionally, silver creams have been used in the treatment of inflammatory skin concerns such as acne, rosacea and eczema. This is because silver helps to calm inflammation, ease the symptoms of itchy skin and encourages the healing of skin tissues; all of these symptoms are present in athlete’s foot. To summarise, Hydrosol Silver Gel may not only help eradicate the microbes responsible for the infection, but works actively to ease the symptoms of itchy skin and encourages the healing of cracked skin.
For those suffering from severe Athlete’s foot infections or recurring infections, it would be prudent to use an anti-fungal supplement and the one of choice would be Horopito and Aniseed capsules. In 1982, scientists at the University of Canterbury discovered that horopito was more effective at destroying Candida albicans than the powerful pharmaceutical anti-Candida drug, Amphotericin B. There is no reason to suspect that this same property would not be applicable to other types of fungal infections as well as bacterial infections that often accompany severe cases of Athlete’s foot.
Many people resort to the use of Tea Tree oil products especially the oil which they use either directly onto the skin in between the toes or as a foot wash. I do not recommend tea tree oil directly onto the skin unless it has been diluted down since it can cause further drying of skin. There is no doubt that tea tree oil has antimicrobial properties however I prefer the use of Lemon Myrtle Oil. Studies at Charles Sturt University in Australia have shown Lemon Myrtle Oil to have 30% more anti-bacterial activity than tea tree oil. In topical use Lemon Myrtle oil should be diluted with a carrier oil at a level of one drop to 10ml carrier oil. This diluted oil, with a very pleasant aroma, can be used for various skin conditions and fungal infections such as athlete’s foot. Apply the diluted oil directly to skin or I prefer a few drops into water to be used as a foot wash.
Make sure you keep your feet dry at all times. An excellent foot powder to use is Margaret Dabbs Soothing Foot Powder which helps reduce sweating, deodorises feet, keeps feet dry & contains lemon myrtle oil which is known for its powerful antibacterial properties.
Prevention is better than cure, and this applies to athlete’s foot too. Keeping the feet dry, not sharing towels and general cleanliness will prevent being plagued with athlete’s foot.