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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 athlete’s 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 infection:

1. Good hygiene 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 moisture.

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 Remedies for Athletes Foot Treatment

Aromatherapy offers some of the best remedies for Athlete’s Foot Treatment 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 athletes foot and be an effective Athlete’s Foot Natural Remedy.

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 children.

Myrrh is a wonderful pain killer. This antiseptic oil works miracles on cracked skin. Myrrh 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. Patchouli is one of the best for fungal infections on the skin. Especially for athletes 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 and 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. Thyme is extremely valuable for fighting infections.

Get your dried, organic herbs, organic essential oils, bulk spices, loose leaf organic teas and aromatherapy supplies at the place where we shop – StarWest Botanicals!

Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Treatments for Athlete’s Foot

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.

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Andrew Pacholyk

Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac. has been in the alternative health field for over 15 years. His knowledge, expertise and clinical training has offered him the ability to experience and continually learn about the body and its energy system in health as well as in disease.