I always find that if you ask someone about “ Athletes Foot ” they usually don’t care about the problem, or think that the problem is quite trivial. For me, looking at the problem from a clinical perspective, I see that Athletes Foot does seem trivial at the start- it can be an irritant more than anything. A pain that can be lived with.
But as the fungus increases, and spreads, it sneakily breaks your skin. Now the skin is an amazing organ and acts as a barrier to most things that want to hurt you. But once the skin is broken the foot fungus can go rampant and even turn into a bacterial problem.
Now as we can see, a simple case of Athletes’ Foot has now turned into a much serious case of a bacterial infection, which now requires a completely different treatment method. I tend to find patients who are unaware of foot conditions and what leaving a problem could mean.
Most of my books have one message that I tend to repeat:
Getting something treated early on is much better than leaving something to its own devices. Doctors have started to learn this message and it is one that is being taught in medical schools and institutions.
Have you noticed that when Athletes Foot does start to become rampant, the body just can’t seem to get itself back to normal?
Initially, the skin keeps everything in check because you have your own micro-organisms on your skin which protect your skin from harmful, invasive micro-organisms.
But when something happens to your skin, like a micro-break (from the skin being too wet or too dry), fungus jumps in. And then the fungus replicates because its food is actually your skin.
The body tries to fight it off, the area becomes red, itchy, and uncomfortable, but the fungus just keeps on attacking your skin…the area gets bigger and the symptoms increase.
The condition has now become chronic- the more access the fungus has to the skin the more the symptoms increase. At no point has the fungus stopped because of the body acting upon it. The body can not stop it. It needs intervention and help.
This is where this reference site comes into play.
I want to stop your foot from getting into this situation. And if it already has? I want to go through procedures to help my body get back to normal.
Sometimes though there are other conditions that can mimic a foot fungus, so we must make sure that those are considered before we do any treatment- mainly because the treatment will not work if it is anything other than an Athletes’s Foot.
Like my saying at the start: Getting something treated early on is going to be beneficial for our bodies and for ourselves.
Athlete’s foot doesn’t have to be a major concern and it is something that we shouldn’t be scared of. But we need to at least acknowledge its presence and do something about it early on so that we don’t have difficulties or complications in our treatments.
Causes of Athlete’s Foot
Because the foot fungus loves us…seriously it does. We have its food- skin. We cover our bodies with clothes making the environment dark, warm and moist. So everyone should have AF right? No, they don’t.
Why is that? Well, it is only when the right factors combine, our skin becomes damaged and fungi see an opportunity and jump straight in.
Therefore, AF is present because of damage to the skin. Also if the skin is either too wet or too dry.
Our body likes to be in a state of balance- it doesn’t want to be too much of one thing or another. If the skin is too dry it becomes microscopically cracked leading to invasion from fungal organisms. If the skin is too wet then that causes the skin cells to move apart and again allow the organisms to infiltrate your skin.
There are many reasons how our feet can become sweaty…or too dry. Generalized sweaty feet, dry feet, teenagers, synthetic socks, sports, same shoes/ running shoes, swimming pools, shoe stores, medical illnesses, family members- the list really goes on.
A good transmission route is to find a source of AF and then accidentally pick it up. This is where most AF cases come from. AF can survive within skin cells which shed upon the floor, for months if not years.
Once they are in, we do all our best to keep them there. We put on shoes and socks which give the fungus a dark, warm, damp area to live in. We wash our feet yet rarely dry our feet well- providing extra moisture. We even walk around in sweaty/ wet socks, which again, increases the moisture content and increases fungi growth.
They use your skin as food and munch away at it- it becomes an irritation. This causes the classical signs of foot fungus.
What to Change if You have Athlete’s Foot
1. Medication. If you are on medication that reduces your body’s natural defenses- like chemotherapy, steroids, etc, then there is a likeliness that you are going to be more prone to a fungus.
2. Certain conditions. Now this one gets ignored by medical professionals an awful lot. If you have something like Diabetes then you are going to be at a higher risk of AF. This is, simplistically because Diabetes does three things:
a. It reduces your body’s own defenses.
b. It affects a part of your nervous system that affects how you sweat. Normally your skin is slightly supple. Because your nervous system is controlling how and when you sweat- automatically. With Diabetes the sweating mechanism is affected. Therefore you can either get a sweaty or a dry foot. A sweaty foot increases the likeliness of fungus infection and a dry foot becomes cracked and the skin loses its suppleness, so a fungus can jump straight in.
c. You may also have an excess of sugar running around your body and especially on your skin. For the fungus, sugar basically acts as gravy that adds to the flavor of the meal.
3. Foot fungus is sometimes called “fungal infection”. The infection part scares many people. What you will find is that the fungus will spread because it is finding more sources of food.
In a worst-case scenario (if the fungus goes unchecked and left to go rampant) then the skin can crack. Now this is a breach in the most sophisticated defense systems around. If your skin breaks then friendly bacteria which cover our skin can become opportunistic and jump in through that crack and become a bacterial infection.
4- Zoophilic. Meaning “animal-loving”. It is not uncommon for pets to harbor infection and then spread it onto the human host. Unfortunately where the animal sheds its fur is an area for infection.
5. Non-Typical Foot fungus. This usually appears if the patient has traveled abroad and then suddenly an AF appears.
So now that we have a good idea of what causes it. How on earth do we get rid of it?
The best Athletes foot treatment, by far, is the use of pharmaceutical cream.
Lamisil cream is by far the most effective. You can buy an enormous amount of medication from the drug store, but I found that it is the ingredients and how the cream is used that increases the effectiveness. Lamisil contains one of the highest percent of anti-fungal agent (Terbinafine).
It is so good because it is a fungicidal agent. This means that it kills off the fungus. Whereas most, if not all, other agents are fungistatic- they stop the fungus from growing rather than killing the fungus.
How you use it is quite easy. First make sure you have Athletes Foot to start with, and then apply the cream to the area and leave to dry.
Easy huh?! However, where most people go wrong is the length of time you apply the cream for. Too short and the fungus will rebel and come back. Too long and the fungus goes but you can also build up toxicity. This is why I prefer Lamisil because it kills off the fungus in a shorter space of time.
The best length of time is 8 days. This is actually different from the guidelines. You apply the cream until the AF has gone, which is usually within 5 days- this is the stated guidelines. However what we noticed is that sometimes the AF can come back. So what we did was to extend the application for 3 more days after the AF has disappeared. The additional days gets the spores from where the fungus grows from.
Unfortunately some people have mega amounts of Athletes foot, but there are a few things to mention:
- If you get a repeated episode months down the line, try to figure out why, there is always a reason.
- Never use the cream or really any product constantly- or to prevent problems because it builds up toxicity.
- Never apply onto an open wound- if the skin is broken and bleeding then do not apply on that area.
- If you can not find Lamisil, which is a brand name, then find a cream with “Terbinafine” as its active ingredient.
- AF is nothing to be worried about, it is a nuisance but it is treatable as long as it is Athletes foot and not Eczema, Allergic reaction or Psoriasis which are easily mistaken for AF. You could even find a small area and try using the cream. If it goes, or reduces over a couple of days great, if the area is the same then it is not a AF.
- If you are concerned or need advice, see a medical professional.
- You can also go for the 3 pronged method. This is for people who have a long standing problem and have had serious AF. Three pronged means that you attack the fungus 3 ways- so you:
- Kill it off • Stop re-infection, and• Prevent it from coming back.
Most people will do just fine with the preventative measures that have already been outlined.
Use the anti-fungal cream- this will take care of the main store of fungus
Use an anti-fungal powder within your shoes. I do not like powders on the feet for the main reason is that they don’t work that well- they clump, move around and you leave half of the powder on the floor anyway. But within the shoe the powder is fine and we just need it to keep down or eliminate any fungus that might be hiding within the shoe.
3. Wash your Socks
Obviously we wash our socks, but at a higher temperature than normal- this will take care of any fungus, but not the spores. Spraying our socks with anti-fungus spray can help (making sure that it is colorless and does not affect the sock is a good idea).
If you have a major Athletes foot problem then it might take a little bit longer than 5 days to clear up. Having said that, you should see some sort of minor resolution occurring. If you don’t then make sure that it is an AF rather than something else. If you are unsure it is AF, go to a medical professional for help, or apply some AF cream onto a small “test” area and see if that clears up as stated above.
I have seen some anti-fungal treatments which are “one off”. With these you only need one application and the medication does its thing- and you don’t have to reapply.
While this is indeed a great way to treat AF, I have found that yes, it does work, initially…but it doesn’t seem to stop the fungus from coming back at a later time.
So instead of a 5-8 day treatment regime, you treat once. I believe that is how it works. But to stop the fungus from coming back, period? When I tried it, it doesn’t seem to be good at that task. Try this home remedies for athlete’s feet.
Yeast infections of the skin (and the nail) are not uncommon. Coming from Candida Albicans, yeast infections are troublesome because some of the anti-AF creams do not seem to have an affect on these fungi.
Candida usually comes secondary to a dermatophyte infection (so they occur on top of that previous infection) in between the toes.
As a side note, Candida infections within the nail present themselves as a fungus growing from the base and goes up the nail rather than growing from the tip of the nail down which fungus dermatophytes do.
A severe Candida infection is uncommon but presents as a chronic condition when the patient is in childhood, affecting the mouth, skin and nails. In the foot it is associated with hard skin areas and thickened nails.