If I had a penny for every person who has asked me about treating athletes foot…… it is a very stubborn condition and according to Wiki affects 15% globally (wonder how they get those stats!)
Please see the section below on laundry. There is some research that may partly explain why so many individuals report ineffective results when trying to treat athletes foot.
The following information may, I hope help you or a family member effectively treat athletes foot.
Firstly, some information about athletes foot (tinea pedis)
It is a fungal infection
It can be caused by a number of different fungii
It is caused by the same fungii that causes ring worm
It is infectious
It may cause itching, scaling and cracked skin
Normally effects in between the toes
Can spread to other parts of the feet and body
Tea Tree oils is widely associated as being the ‘medicine chest oil’. It certainly is an all-rounder or broad spectrum due to it’s many properties, antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic and of course antifungal. There is a plethora of research on Tea Tree oil
Not all Tea Tree oils are the same so for efficacy choose a high quality and preferably organic oil. Always use ‘fresh’ Tea Tree oil, old or oxidised oil may cause irritation.
The following study using Tea Tree oil showed promising results
158 people with athlete’s foot were treated with placebo, 25% tea tree oil solution, or 50% tea tree oil solution, applied twice daily for 4 weeks. In the 50% tea tree oil group, 64% were cured; in the 25% tea tree oil group, 55% were cured. More Info
Please note that it is advisable to start at lower dosages and work up. 25% is quite a high dilution so be mindful of washing hands following application or wear disposable type gloves if you have very sensitive skin.
Coconut oil has been associated with the treatment of candida and while this is a different type of fungus to athletes foot, research has suggested that medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil inhibit an action in fungus which is responsible for enabling it to penetrate into human skin. More Info
While I am focusing on topical applications there is an abundance of research regarding the many health benefits of including coconut oil in your diet. Seek advice from your local health food store or do a little research yourself. As is so often the case, effective treatment regularly involves ‘inside and out’ action.
Now, I have to say the matter of inappropriate laundering of socks and other garments scuppering effective treatment of athletes foot never occurred to me. It makes a lot of sense and I imagine this may be something many people overlook. Could this be one of the reasons why the condition is so stubborn to cure?
Tests have revealed that a 60 degree washing cycle is required to eliminate fungus spores from fabrics. More Info
On top of that, one research found that socks not suitably washed to remove spores could infect other garments if stored together. Those suffering from athletes foot should store their socks separately. More Info
Dry feet thoroughly
Apply Tea Tree treatment twice a day
Change your shoes in the evening
Wear cotton socks (and launder them effectively)
Leather insoles help feet to breathe*
Synthetic insoles will create a warm and moist environment perfect for fungus
* I have seen Ecco leather insoles to help keep feet dry and comfortable. These can be wiped with a damp cloth using a vinegar and tea tree solution. Cedarwood insoles are widely available with similar claims.