Graham Butler, BSc, CNPA, RH
Athlete's foot or Tinea pedis</EM> is a common fungal infection characterized by a persistent, burning itch that often starts between the toes and can travel to the crotch area through contact with infected clothing or hands.
Athlete's foot or Tinea pedis is a common fungal infection characterized by a persistent, burning itch that often starts between the toes and can travel to the crotch area through contact with infected clothing or hands.
It's an unsightly, highly irritating, and often smelly ailment causing the skin on the feet to become damp, soft, red, cracked, or peeling with patches of dead skin. It thrives in damp, warm environments like gyms and swimming pool locker rooms where it is highly contagious. Antibiotics, radiation, or drugs can cause athlete's foot fungus to spread rapidly by killing off the bacteria that keeps the fungus in check.
Prevention and Treatment
Given the stubborn and recurrent nature of fungal infections, prevention is by far the best policy. Wear open-toed rubber flip-flops or similar attire when at the pool or gym. Keep your feet clean and dry, especially between the toes. Consider using an antifungal product like tea tree oil foot powder as a preventive measure. Consuming yogourt, kefir, or probiotics will increase your resistance to fungal infections. Herbal preparations such as wild oregano oil, olive leaf extract, and garlic also have preventive and therapeutic benefits. Biotin, a B vitamin cofactor, can boost the body's ability to fight off and recover from a variety of diseases, including athlete's foot.
If infection occurs, external applications of raw garlic, tea tree oil, and colloidal silver are recommended. One study published in Mycoses in 1996 by Dr. E. Ledezma, Dr. L. DeSousa, and Dr. A. Jorquera "Efficacy of ajoene, an organosulphur derived from garlic, in the short-term therapy of Tinea pedis" resulted in 79 percent of the participants see a complete clearing of athlete's foot after one week; the rest saw complete clearing within two weeks. All participants remained cured three months later.
Soaking the feet in a 50/50 solution of water and raw apple cider vinegar is also useful and will reduce the itch. Always keep the feet dry, use fresh socks every day, air the feet regularly and use chlorine bleach to disinfect contaminated socks. Try to avoid the urge to scratch this will just prolong the infection, and possibly spread it to a place you don't want to be scratching in public.