Autumn 2015 True Natural Health Magazine – Your Questions Answered
By Roger French
QUESTION: I do a lot of exercise both outdoors and in the gym and continually suffer from athlete’s foot with associated brown nails. I have tried most recommended medications, but nothing seems to help much.
Do you know of anything that really works?
Athlete’s foot is a common and contagious fungal infection of the skin that can cause scaling, flaking, itching and burning pain. It is also known as ringworm of the foot, tinea pedis, tinea pedum and moccasin foot
Athlete’s foot typically occurs on the feet – the webs of the toes and the soles – but may infect or spread to the groin, under the toenails (onychomycosis), palms of hands or other areas of the body that tend to remain warm and moist due to being covered or sweaty. Shoes are the main cause of athlete’s foot; in people who go barefooted, the fungus is only seen in approximately one in every 130 people.
When associated with a fungus, the condition is contagious and can be picked up from other people or by walking barefoot on contaminated floors, such as communal showers, around swimming pools, dance floors or fitness centres or by sharing towels or shoes, for example, hired at a bowling alley.
The essence of prevention in the feet is by keeping the feet dry by wearing cotton socks and shoes that breathe or sandals.
Overcoming athlete’s foot
If the skin on the sole and heel of the foot is coarse and scaly with the toenails often infected, it is referred to as moccasin-type athlete’s foot. The thickened skin on the sole makes it difficult to treat.
The more common type is toe web infection, in which the skin irritation is between the toes, especially between the little toe and its neighbour. We usually refer to this as tinea.
The orthodox medical treatment depends on whether it’s fungal and how severe. The usual treatment is antifungal medication, with which most sufferers can treat themselves at home.
Fortunately, there are natural remedies that can reduce the severity of tinea or get rid of it altogether. Find one of the following remedies that suits you and see how you go with it.
Beeswax cream. This gives marvellous protection for the crevices between the toes. I have first-hand experience of a locally-made brand which can be ordered Australia-wide. It is ‘Beeswax Moisturising Cream’ manufactured by Blue Mountains Honey, Northern Rd, Luddenham NSW, phone 02 4773 3279 or 0408 476 377. or email [email protected]. The ingredients are beeswax, olive oil, water and emulsifier (borax, tiny amount). Although this is a moisturising cream, it repels external water, which is why it opposes fungi. When cracks develop between my toes, I apply a smear of the cream morning and evening, and the cracks are gone in a couple of days.
Tea-tree oil. Is anti-fungal. Soak the feet for 10 minutes in a foot bath to which has been added about a dessertspoon of the oil. Dry the feet thoroughly and work a few drops of the oil into the itching skin.
Alternatively, mix equal parts of tea-tree oil and olive oil and rub this into the infected areas morning and evening. The olive oil increases the absorption of the tea-tree oil.
Another option is to mix tea-tree oil with aloe vera gel in a ratio of three parts to one part respectively, and rub this in a couple of times a day. It may take a month or two to work.
Himalayan crystal salt. Into a foot bath of warm water, place two tablespoons of this salt plus half cup of apple cider vinegar, stir well and soak the feet in it. Also wipe this solution over the insides of your footwear. Ordinary table salt can be used in the same way
Epsom salts. Stir quarter to half a cup of Epsom salts into a foot bath and soak the feet in it once or twice a day. The Epsom salts has a drying effect.
Garlic. Try placing sliced or crushed fresh garlic between the toes before putting on your socks for the day.
Baking soda. To a tablespoon of baking soda add water to make a thick paste. Smear this over the affected skin, then wash off and dry the feet thoroughly. Finish with a dusting of cornstarch.
Extra virgin coconut oil or sesame oil or organic neem oil. These are anti-fungal. Smear directly over the affected skin at least twice daily.
Colloidal Silver is a suitable remedy for athlete’s foot. It is sprayed or wiped on the feet and allowed to dry.
Ginger is a strong anti-fungal. Add 30 grams of fresh, organic, chopped ginger to a cup of boiling water and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool and wipe over the affected skin.
Tea – its tannic acid is astringent and dries out sweaty feet. Boil five tea bags in a litre of water for five minutes, and when cool, use as a foot bath for 30 minutes.
Plain unsweetened acidophilus yoghurt. Wipe the yoghurt on the affected areas, allow to dry, then rinse off.
Keep the feet dry and well aired:
Go barefoot or wear sandals whenever possible, and occasionally expose the feet to sunlight.
Wear shoes made of canvas or leather, which allow the feet to ‘breathe’.
Wear a pair of shoes on alternate days, that is, use two pairs.
Use clean, white cotton socks as they absorb moisture well. Change socks at lunchtime, and apply an anti-fungal like tea tree oil.
Always dry the feet thoroughly after showering or bathing, especially between the toes.
When in public places where people walk barefoot, wear thongs, sandals or shoes.
To keep the feet as dry as possible, before putting on shoes and sox, sprinkle organic cornstarch or baking soda over toes and soles.
Finally, have a balanced diet of natural foods with minimal refined sugar intake.