Athletes’ foot condition is also referred to as foot ringworm or Tinea pedis. It is basically a fungal disease that mainly affects the skin causing scales, flakes and itching. This infection is brought about by fungi present in the species Trichophyton. It is usually transmitted in wet areas especially in showers and bathhouses where many people saunter barefoot. The important fact that you ought to note about this condition is that even though its effects are normally seen on the feet, they can easily extend to other body parts especially the groin. The good thing is that this condition can easily be treated.
Causes of Athlete’s Foot
For starters, it is important to understand that athlete’s foot condition is mainly caused by fungi. It is very easy to acquire this fungus especially if you share showers with a person who is already infected. Once you acquire the fungus, it will start to develop on your feet. The Fungi mostly grow on the upper layer of the skin and can easily cause infection. However, the fungi have to find a warm or moist place on your body for it to proliferate. This is why it is very common to find this condition affecting the most hidden areas of your feet such as between your toes. Of importance to note about athlete’s foot is that it is highly contagious. You can therefore acquire it by simply touching the affected parts of a patient. Some of the main areas where you can find this fungus include
- Contaminated surfaces
- Showers and more
Even though this disease is highly contagious, some people tend to be more vulnerable than others. It has also been revealed that vulnerability increases with age. Even experts have not been able to confirm the reason why certain people are highly susceptible to athlete’s feet than others. Also, if you have ever been attacked by this problem, chances are that you might acquire it again. It is also worthwhile to note that once you have acquired the fungi you are more likely to infect other people regardless of whether you are infected or not.
Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot
One thing you have to know is that symptoms of athlete’s feet vary with different people. Some people may develop serious discomfort while others will only show a few or no signs at all. However, there are several common symptoms of athlete’s foot that you need to look out for. They include the following;
- Skin breakdown
- Burning and more
Currently, there are three major types of athlete foot infections. Although these infections are almost similar, they come with different symptoms. It would be of great importance for you to understand these infections so that you can easily determine the right method of dealing with them whenever you are infected by any of them.
Toe Web Disease
This type of foot infection is very common and it usually affects the area between the toes especially the two smallest ones. It often starts with the skin becoming soft and wet. Then it changes the color of the skin around the affected area by turning it pale white. This condition also causes itching and burning in the affected part. You will also smell a slight smell coming from the infected part. The problem with this type of infection is that it may become worse with time. The skin in the affected area also becomes scaly and begins to crack and peel off. If you don’t take action to counter this problem, you risk acquiring a bacteria infection, which will cause serious skin infection and malodorous odor.
This is a chronic infection which might take long to heal. It may also start with a little irritation, itching, scaly skin, and dryness of the skin. If it is not treated in good time, it will develop to thickened, cracked and scaly skin around the affected part of the body. However, this infection usually affects the sole and heel of the foot. In more serious cases, the infection can spread to the toenails causing them to disintegrate, thicken or fall out. What is more, moccasin infection can easily occur on the hands.
It is possible for a person to develop athlete’s foot during diabetes and heart complications. Notable also is the fact that this condition is normally accompanied by other infections such as Candida overgrowth. This is especially common when the athlete’s foot condition occurs in other body parts. The most common signs of this condition include vaginal yeast and jock itch. This condition is in most cases a sign of other serious conditions mainly caused by low body immune system. Athlete’s foot condition, just like other skin infections, is treatable. What is more, it can be dealt with directly. But you should also note that even though this type of treatment can offer certain degree of relief, it does not totally eradicate the infection until your immune system goes back to normal. That is why it is important to learn various methods of treatment that you can employ when dealing with athlete’s foot condition.
Athlete’s Foot Home Remedies
Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Using olive leaf extract- Olive leaf extract is the simplest herbal extract to use in the treatment of Athlete’s foot. It should be rubbed on the foot for 30 minutes to an hour. The antibacterial compounds found in olive leaf extract will kill the Trichophyton genus fungus and bacteria that can potentially cause infection.
- Vinegar- Vinegar is mixed with water in the ratio of one to one. Vinegar has been used in many instances as a natural disinfectant and if the infected feet are constantly washed in its water they will be disinfected.
- Garlic- Traditionally used in cooking food, garlic is also a natural antibiotic that destroys fungus in addition. The infected person should wear socks with slices of garlic on the inside so that the feet absorb garlic during movement. In addition, there are garlic capsules can be taken.
- Tea tree oil- Several drops of tea tree oil are mixed with warm water in a small plastic tub or basin and the feet is soaked in it for 15 minutes to half an hour. For effective and quick relief from Athlete’s foot, you should soak your feet up to 3 times per day.
- Cinnamon- Put water on an oven and heat to boiling point. Add cinnamon to the boiled water and allow it to steep the cool the cinnamon solution. Soak the feet that are infected with athlete’s feet for close to half an hour in the solution. If done daily for up to 3 months, you will effectively fight fungal and yeast infections that bring about the disease.
- Epsom- Soaking feet in a solution of Epsom salt in water for up to 20 minutes will help keep the feet dry, reduce fungal infection and sweating. Similarly, baking soda could be sprinkled in the feet to dry them and neutralize PH.
The best way to keep your feet away from athlete’s foot condition is to apply all the available preventive measures. In any case, prevention is always better than cure. The following are some of the important preventive measures that you should put in place;
- Always wear socks that are purely made of cotton and ensure that you change them regularly. Try your best to avoid wearing synthetic material. It is also very important to ensure that you stay away from cotton blend materials. Ensure that you keep your feet clean and dry all the time. If it is possible, stay bare foot when you are at home. Footwear should be worn only when it is necessary. If you must put on your footwear, ensure that it is made of purely natural materials. Such materials include leather, cloth, and more. Never wear wet socks or shoes because the fungus that causes athlete’s foot tends to proliferate much faster in moist conditions.
- You should also make sure to dust your closed-in shoes to remove any moisture. The best way to do this is to use baking soda. It is the best option when it comes to absorbing moisture.
- It is not proper to scrub your feet hard with soap because doing so will remove the protective acid layer from your skin. You should always use warm water to clean your feet. This allows your skin to put up a protective natural acid layer that will help you to keep the fungi away. But if you must use soap to clean your feet, it is important that you use a mixture of water and cider vinegar. Also dry your feet with a paper towel. This method helps in removing any smell that could be coming from the inner parts of your feet.
If you are infected by athlete’s feet fungi, it is advisable that you wash your feet regularly with antifungal solutions. You should also ensure that your feet are dry all the time. Remember, the fungus that causes athlete’s feet like to stay in a moist environment. Therefore keeping your feet dry all the time will help you to fight the fungus. Some medical experts advise that the first thing that you should do when you realize that you have athlete’s feet is to ensure that the infected part is not apposite for the fungus. This means that you should keep your feet dirt free and dry.
Also when you are buying shoes make sure they are made of pure leather or any other breathable material. Occlusive materials make the feet to remain wet, providing a suitable environment for the infectious fungi to proliferate. Medicated powders are also useful in keeping the feet dry. Then you can always soak the feet in a freshening solution such as aluminum acetate. Another important remedy for athlete’s feet is the use of oral pills. These antifungal drugs include terbinafine, itraconazole, fluconazole and more. However, before you take any of these pills you should do a thorough blood test to check if you have any liver disease.
Diet for Athlete’s Foot
Is there any specific diet that can help in treating athlete’s foot? Well, the answer is yes. There are certain types of foods that are known to help fight athlete’s foot. The following are some of the tips:
- Always ensure that there are enough vegetables in your diet. Also make a point of eating fruits in order to provide your body with vitamin C. Your diet should also contain antioxidants as they will help you to boost your immune system.
- It is also important to include more proteins in your diet. They help to boost body metabolism and revival of skin tissues.
- Avoid foods that can give you allergy because they will only increase the itching effect.
Prevention of Athlete’s Foot
There are several important preventive measures that you should always consider whenever you are dealing with athlete’s foot disease.
- Ensure that your feet are always clean and dry
- Do not wear wet foot wear as it will help the athlete’s feet fungus to proliferate
- Use antifungal solutions clean your feet
- Maintain a healthy diet
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