Also called tinea pedis, athlete's foot is one of the most common fungal infections and is closely related to jock itch and ringworm. Symptoms include:
- Itching and burning between your toes and cracked and peeling skin.
- It is contagious and is commonly picked up in locker rooms and pools or anywhere you may go barefoot.
- This fungus loves a moist, warm environment so change out of your socks and sneakers after exercise and let those feet breathe.
- Always wear sandals in hotels, pools, locker rooms, etc.
- Change socks regularly if they become sweaty and blow dry your feet.
- Athlete's foot fungi as well as other types of fungus can get under the toenail and cause discoloration, thickening, and cracking of the nails.
- Fungal toenail infections are called onychomycosis and treatment can be difficult and lengthy so talk with your healthcare provider.
Tea tree oil contains anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. A study published in 2002 in the Australasian Journal of Dermatology tested tea tree oil in varying concentrations (25% or 50% tea tree solution) against a placebo on those with athlete's foot. It was applied 2 times a day for 4 weeks. Both groups saw marked improvements. The cure rate was 64% in the 50% solution group, compared to 31% in the group receiving the placebo.
100% Tea tree oil has been shown to be as effective as 1% clotrimazole for onychomycosis (fungal toenail infections). The researchers in the study concluded that topical therapy combined with debridement was an appropriate initial therapy. Filing down a thickened toenail can help topical treatments get closer to the nail bed where the infection is hiding. Champhor, eucalyptus, and thyme essential oils also have anti-fungal properties and can be found in some anti-fungal toenail products. Oral medicines for treating fungal toenail infections can be costly and have serious side effects, but may be required for more serious infections. Those with diabetes, poor circulation, and those with lower immune function are at an increased risk of difficult to treat fungal infections.
There are many anecdotal reports of people having success with common household vinegar or apple cider vinegar, either by soaking their feet in a solution of vinegar and water or dabbing affected areas with vinegar. Theoretically the acidity of the vinegar makes your foot (or toenails) an inhospitable place for the fungus to thrive. Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) soaks are not only a good way to relax; they may also help clear up athlete's foot and fungal toenails. Although not an anti-fungal, it can increase circulation and can be used in conjunction with other therapies. Many of these home remedies need to be done daily, preferably twice daily, in order to be more effective. It can take many months to grow out a bad toenail, patience is a must!
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which loves a warm, moist environment and enters through little cuts or cracks in your skin. Plantars warts occur on the bottom of feet and are often painful and difficult to treat, but sometimes they can resolve on their own. The treatments themselves are also painful including salicylic acid, cryotherapy (freezing), or even surgery. But, before trying any of these you may want to consider applying duct tape over the wart which may stimulate an immune response. Although studies have been mixed on the effectiveness of duct tape, it certainly may be worth a try, especially now that duct tape comes in a variety of designs and colors. Leave the duct tape on for up to 6 days followed by soaking and removal of dead skin with an emery board or pumice stone. Leave the wart open to air for half a day and repeat as long as the wart remains. Some have combined this therapy with salicylic acid or Imiquimod, a medicine that stimulates an immune response around the wart.
This article is for information only and is not intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any conditions. Please seek the advice and care of a qualified healthcare provider if you have any concerns about the health of your feet.
PubMed Health – Athlete's Foot
Healthy Nail Blend has 7 Powerful Essential Oils including Tea Tree with Vitamin E Oil and can used for Athlete’s foot as well as Nail Fungus.