Athlete's foot can be painful. But, luckily, it's also easy to fix. It's caused by a fungus called Trichophyton, which is part of the ringworm family. This fungus thrives in warm, moist environments like gym showers, changeroom floors, yoga studios, swimming pools... and your socks. Your body contracts athlete's foot from walking barefoot where someone with the fungus has walked and left the fungus behind.
Signs and symptoms of athlete's foot include:
- Dry skin on the soles of your feet
- Skin peeling -- particularly in between your 4th and 5th toes
- In some cases, blistering and bleeding
- Athlete's foot can also be the cause of toenail fungus
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The reason it spreads so easily is some people with athlete's foot don't even know they have it -- it can easily be written off as dry skin. Not only can this fungus be spread to others from your feet, it can also spread to other areas of your body, such as your hands and groin.
If you think you have athlete's foot, seek medical attention to be sure. If you know you have it, try the following:
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- Dry your feet completely after showers or baths. The drier the area, the less hospitable an environment your feet becomes. Try using a hair dryer.
- Garlic is an excellent fungus killer. Place raw, chopped garlic on affected areas and allow your skin to absorb for three minutes to an hour. You can also take garlic tablets internally, two to three times per day.
- Wear clean socks and change them often to keep your feet as dry as possible. Do not go barefoot in your house.
- If your feet sweat heavily, change your shoes twice a day. At the end of the day, dry your shoes out with a hair dryer.
- Wear flip flops in the shower to prevent Athlete's foot from spreading, and clean your flip flops with tea tree oil after each shower.
- Make a paste of baking soda and water to rub on affected areas -- baking soda helps kill bacteria and fungus.
- Create a foot soak. Black tea contains tannic acid, which is a natural astringent, so steep eight tea bags in boiling water, cool to a tolerable temperature and soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes twice daily. Or add two to three teaspoons of salt to lukewarm water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. Another idea is to chop three to four cloves of garlic and add to boiling water; cool to a lukewarm temperature then soak your feet for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Apply tea tree oil to affected areas at least twice a day. Allow oil to soak in completely before putting on clean socks.
- Apply calendula ointment (available of most health food stores) to affected areas. Allow it to soak in completely prior to putting on clean socks.
- Acidophilus is beneficial to balance the fungus and bacterial load of the body. Take as directed on label.
'Merck Manual of Medical Information,' Copyright 2003, pg. 1225-1226
'Prescription for Nutritional Healing,' Copyright 2006, pg. 228-229
Sarah Brown is a very healthy woman. She is not only a fitness instructor at Goodlife where she teaches Body Pump, Body Flow, cycling, bootcamp and yoga but she is also a registered holistic nutritionist.