Alternative Answers for Athlete's Foot
Athlete's Foot: is a fungal infection of the skin also known as "tinea pedis".
In an acute flare-up, the skin of the foot is red or white with scales, cracks,
inflammation, cuts, and blisters. There is itching, burning, and stinging. Most
often, it occurs in between the toes. During an acute flare-up, secondary
bacterial infection is common. In chronic athletes foot, the skin of the sides
and sole of the foot is pink and scaly and there is no itchiness.
Tinea pedis can also infect the scalp, where it causes hair loss and scaly
patches. It can infect the body, where it causes round, red, scaly patches, such
as ring worm that itch and at the groin, where jock itch causes itching, redness
and thickening of the skin. The fungus lives off dead skin cells and thrives in
warm, damp environments, such as the floors around gym locker rooms, showers and
indoor swimming pools.
Don't be confused. Athletes foot can sometimes be confused with dyshydrotic
dermatitis, contact or atopic dermatitis, erythrasma and psoriasis.
Managing Athlete's Foot
Prevention is key so it is important to take the following steps to prevent
1. Good hygene is vital. Keep your feet clean. Wash your feet twice a day with
soap and water, and dry them thoroughly. Wash your hands with soap and water
after coming into contact with the infected area. After bathing, wash out the
tub or shower with an antiseptic cleaner such as Lysol.
2. Keep your feet thoroughly dry, especially between your toes. Use a foot
powder to keep feet dry. Simple corn starch makes a good foot dusting powder.
3. Wear cotton socks, and change your socks daily. Wash socks in the hot water
setting of a washing machine. Be sure to rinse the socks thoroughly during
laundering, because detergent residue can aggravate your skin problem.
4. Don't wear tight, closed-toe shoes. Moisture and heat cause athlete's foot
fungus to thrive. Natural materials such as cotton and leather create the best
environment for feet, while rubber and even wool may induce sweating and hold
5. Whenever possible, such as during the summer, wear airy shoes such as
sandals. Don't go barefoot in public places. Wear slippers or flip-flops.
6. Don't share towels, and keep your linens and towels clean.
7. To further keep your feet dry, allow them to air-dry for 5 or 10 minutes
after a shower.
8. Freshen your shoes once a week and keep them clean.
9. Remove dead skin as the initial stage of athlete's foot has seemed to settle
down, remove any dead skin. This skin contains living fungi that can reinfect
you. In the bath tub, vigorously work the entire foot with a bristle scrub
brush. Pay special attention to spaces between the toes. Use a small bottle
brush or clean toothbrush. If you scrub your feet in the bathtub, shower
afterward to wash away any bits of skin that could attack to other parts of the
body and start an infection.
10. Toenails are favorite breeding spots for the fungi. Scrape the undersides of
your toenails clean at least every second or third day. Be sure to use a wooden
stick, toothpick, or wooden match instead of a metal nail file, which could
scratch the nails and provide niches for the fungus to grow in.
The goal in treating athlete's foot is to kill the fungus. The tinea fungus is
contagious and once it takes hold, it can be quite tenacious to get rid of. If
you are dealing with athlete's foot now, here are some of the best natural
remedies for athlete's foot:
Aromatherapy offers some of the best remedies for tinea pedis fungal infection
and they are in the form of essential oils! Helpful, are essential oils of
eucalyptus, lavender, myrrh, patchouli and tea tree and thyme oils and are all
beneficial for destroying fungal infection. In fact, they seem to work as well
if not better than pharmaceutical anti-fungal products.
Tea Tree: (Melaleuca alternifolia) is the most common natural treatment for
athlete's foot. Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties. Tea tree oil can be
applied directly to the skin three times a day, covering the affected area.
About 4 to 10 drops is sufficient. Continue for two weeks after the fungal
infection seems to have disappeared to ensure that it is eradicated. Tea tree
oil also helps with fungal infections of the nails.
Studies have found tea tree oil is an antiseptic and has the ability to kill
many bacteria and fungi. Two clinical trials suggest it may help people with
athlete's foot. One study examined the effectiveness of 10 percent tea tree oil
cream compared with 1 percent tolnaftate (a medicated topical anti-fungal) and
placebo creams in 104 people with athlete's foot. The tea tree oil and
tolnaftate groups showed improvement in scaling, inflammation, itching, and
burning compared to the placebo group, however, only the tolnaftate eradicated
the fungi more effectively than a placebo. Tea tree oil can also be mixed with
aloe vera gel. About 4 ounces of aloe vera gel to 1/2 teaspoon of tea tree oil
can be combined in a spray bottle and applied twice daily. Allow the feet to dry
before putting on footwear.
Eucalyptus: reduces pain, spasms and inflammation, stimulating local blood
circulation and the removal of waste products and toxins from the tissues.
Eucalyptus helps new tissue to form. This oil has strong anti-fungal, anti-viral
and immune stimulating properties. Caution: do not use along with homeopathic
remedies, use only for a week at a time and do not use on babies or young
Myrrh is a wonderful pain killer. This antiseptic oil works miracles on cracked
skin. It can speed the healing of eczema. The anti-fungal properties make it
just right for a foot bath for athlete's foot, as a vaginal wash for thrush and
a very good remedy for pain in Chinese medicine.
Patchouli: This rich, spicy oil so often used for nausea also helps normalize
blood pressure either by raises blood pressure by restricting external blood
flow, or lowers it by dilating surface blood vessels. This oil is warming and an
antiseptic. This oil is one of the best for fungal infections on the skin.
Especially for athlete's foot, chapped, dry skin, acne, eczema and dermatitis.
Lavender: is probably the most helpful and Universal oils on the planet. This
anti-inflammatory oil blends well with other oils such as soothing Chamomile,
pain relieving Rosemary essential oil.
Thyme: is one of the most useful medicinal herbs in natural healing. This oil is
an antiseptic, disinfectant, antibiotic and strong germicide. It is extremely
valuable for fighting infections.
Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Treatments
Traditional Chinese medicine considers athletes' foot as wind, heat and/or damp
patterns. The protocol is to clear heat and damp, and to bring yeast cells under
control by decreasing the source that is encouraging them to grow, and
strengthen the immune system to prevent their recurrence.
Athlete's foot can be differentiated into three additional patterns: blistering,
erosive, and keratinized. All these three patterns have itching and smell.
Blistering is indicated by raised or fluid filled sacks. The erosive pattern is
whitish with exudate, generally between the toes, and turns red after
scratching. Keratinized generally is dry and characterized by peeling skin.
These types may be present all at the same time or occur one after another.
Three of my favorite, time-tested herbal remedies in the Chinese materia medica
are called Damp Heat Soak. Soak your foot or apply the liquid with a wet
compress for about 20 minutes. Let the feet dry.
Then apply Drying Powder and dust between the toes with this herbal healing
Twice a day, apply Fungal Cream, this non steroid all natural treatment is
indicated for management of symptoms associated with tinea pedis fungal
infections such as athlete's foot, ringworm and jock-itch.
Andrew Pacholyk, MS. L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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