Athletes foot

The picture shows an infection of athletes foot between and on the skin over the toes.

Notice how it has transformed from a soft sticky white substance to a dried flaky condition.

It is not generally a painful condition but it is uncomfortable and sore and needs to be treated.

Athletes foot
conditions and treatments

The term Athletes Foot is used to describe a particularly irritating fungal infection that infects the skin (usually the dermis or outer layer of skin)of the foot and toes.

The Latin name or medical terminology for this fungal infection of the foot is Tinea Pedis

It normally infects the areas around, under and between the toes though it can spread to the soles and sides of the feet too.

For an in depth look into how we caught this foot fungus please read our page on foot fungus causes

Athletes foot is usually first recognized by a terrible itching sensation which usually originates from between the toes.

Especially between the two smallest toes.

It often feels like no amount of rubbing or scratching it will relieve the itchy feeling.

This leads to very sore and inflamed toes or feet a little while later.

Whilst relieving the itch you may find that the skin in the 'itchy' area is softer, whiter and more moist than normal.

Giving off an unpleasant odor too.

This is a sure sign that athletes foot, the fungal infection that attacks the skin around and between the toes of the foot, has infected the skin.

If the fungal infection is left untreated the condition will of course become worse and the infection will spread around the foot and toes.

The good news is, this type of fungal infection is easily treated from home, check out Athletes foot treatment for an easy to follow course of treatments that will quickly act on the fungus to cure the infection.

The fungal infection

Athletes foot can appear on the skin when the skin of the foot and the toes is in poor health.

That means when the pH value of the skin is low enough so that the skin can not fight off naturally the fungal infection.

This lowering of the skins pH value can be done is different ways for example in swimming pools the chemicals used to treat the water can lower the skins pH value, as can high pH value soaps to wash the feet.

High pH value soap can dry out and damage the skin.

Skin care is really so important and to keep your skin in top condition it has to be understood that the natural ways are always the best, please visit Natural Healthy Skin for the best information available on gaining beautiful healthy skin.

Overheating of the feet can lead to sweaty feet and this moist condition is a sure breeding ground for the fungus.

As the name suggests, it used to be a common ailment of Athletes.

Wearing poor quality shoes or footwear made from poor quality material with no ventilation whilst running or performing exercises would lead to a build up of heat inside the shoes.

This would overheat and damage the skin of the foot and leave the skin open to a fungal infection.

Presently the technology of footwear has led to a huge improvement in shoe design (Sports shoes in particular)and the materials used are often of the highest quality.

The use of healthy footwear is far better for the health of the foot and leads to far fewer fungal infections.

Wet Toes after bathing or taking a shower leaving the toes wet can lead to the conditions needed for the fungus to survive and multiply.

It is often easy to miss out drying between and under the toes after taking a shower or a bath, but it is an important part of daily hygiene.

Dampness between the toes can lead to an infection of athletes foot, it is as simple as that.

Always take the time to dry under and between the toes, if you have naturally sweaty feet then apply some mildly anti fungal foot powder to keep them dryer.

If your feet are too dry apply some good quality foot cream to nourish the skin.

A simple rule here would be 'If it is too dry then moisturize it with a good foot cream and if it is too damp then dry it with a good foot powder'.

Athletes foot is not contagious.

It is not passed from one person to another simply because they walked over the same area.

However, the fungus spores are more prevalent in warm moist areas, which are usually communal changing areas and showers rooms.

It is a common misconception that public swimming pools, locker rooms, sports halls or gymnasiums are where Athletes foot is 'caught'.

Any doctor worth his salt will tell you that Athletes foot is a none contagious condition.

In fact tests have been carried out where medical teams have tried to take the fungus from one person and plant it on another.

It was without success, the fungus is non contagious.

If the skin of the foot is in good condition then the fungus has no place to live or multiply and can not attach itself or cause an infection.

Other conditions that may apear to be a fungal infection can be some form of dermatitis or excema or some form of rash.

If you are unsure about the diagnosis then you must visit a specialist Chiropodist, Podiatrist or Dermatologist.

Treatment can come in the form of oils or creams and many can be bought over the counter in any pharmacy or drug store or health shop.

Most of these will be fast working and quickly kill the fungus and heal the wound leaving the skin unblemished.

Some treatments for more severe cases where the infection has caused deep wounds will require the attention of a specialist dermatologist and prescription drugs supplied by a doctors note.

However the majority of cases are easily identified and can be treated with natural herbs and oils.

Natural cures

A natural cure can play an important part in the treatment of fungal infections.

A pure essential oil like Oregano oil or Tea tree oil, which has an amazing anti fungal quality, although if used too often can lead to skin that may need moisturizing.

Or use the anti fungal and deep moisturizing Jojoba oil which has wonderful anti-bacterial qualities that can kill an infection in a relatively short period of time and with little or no discomfort.

Other herbal oils or creams that contain Chamomile or Aloe Vera will help heal and repair the damaged skin.

Treatment of the infection is needed and it is best if it is seen to as soon as the condition has been diagnosed and the fungal infection is evident.

If it is left untreated the condition will only worsen and have to be taken care of at a later stage.

For an in depth look at the treatment and cures available and how to take care of the problem from home, please take a look at the pages Athletes foot treatment and Athletes foot cure

Of course the key to not contracting an infection is to have 'healthy feet' or 'feet not open to a fungal infection'.

This all comes down to good hygiene and regular washing of the feet, particular attention to drying the toes properly and regular changing of footware ie, socks and shoes.

Wearing sandals are a good way to keep the skin around the toes well ventilated and free from the conditions that can lead to fungal infections of the feet.

Having the healthy skin that will not attract the fungus can also come from having a good healthy diet that will nourish the skin with the right nutrients and vitamins in the right amounts.

Regular good foot hygiene, regular foot wash and even barefoot walks on the beach (if possible) are all good ways to keep the fungal infections away.

Not wearing shoes that will overheat the feet and taking care to use the natural fibers that will take care of the skin better, like wool or cotton for socks and leather for shoes is all good news for healthier feet and bad news for athletes foot.

For full information on how to attain and keep healthy feet please see our pages on Tips on healthy feet

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