Athlete's Foot Treatments
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Athletes foot is a very stubborn and common fungal infection, appearing as moist scaling between the toes with occasional small blisters. It can quickly get worse so that as the blistering breaks, the infection spreads and often to quite large areas of the foot. The accompanying symptoms of burning and itching can be very uncomfortable. It is vitally important to treat athletes foot as quickly as possible to get rid of this discomfort and to avoid its spread.
Untreated athletes foot can lead to complications such as a bacterial infection and may even spread to the toenails as a fungal nail infection or to the groin as jock itch. It is contagious and often picked up from warm, damp areas such as gyms, locker rooms and the areas surrounding public swimming pools.
You can treat the condition by killing the fungi that is causing the infection by using an anti fungal treatment or medication. This can be in the form of prescription or over-the-counter medication (creams, sprays, liquids, powders and tablets) or with a natural product specially formulated with healing essential oils.
Typical topical antifungal medications are applied directly to the area being treated and include: terbinafine, clotrimazole, econazole, ketoconazole, moconazole and sulconazole. You will notice that most in “zole”. Prescription oral antifungal medicines include:
itraconazole, griseofulvin and terbinafine. Please note that oral terbinafine can cause liver inflammation in people who are susceptible to this and be aware that antifungal treatments in tablet form are usually only recommended to treat severe cases of athlete's foot and when topical antifungal treatments have not worked. Your doctor may prescribe an oral antibiotic if you have an accompanying bacterial infection. However, it is always safer and more healthy to go the natural route when treating the signs and symptoms of athletes foot.
Along with a topical treatment, certain home care pieces of advice should also be followed when dealing with athletes foot itself. These have been highlighted in bold but alongside you will also notice other advice regarding the care of your hard working feet:
- Wash your feet regularly and thoroughly using soap and water. A good alternative is to fill a bowl with warm to hot water to which you can add spices such as a teaspoon each of cayenne, cinnamon and ginger. An alternative is to add some essential oils such as black pepper and geranium – just a few drops of each. Give you feet a really good soak until they are nicely softened. Then use a pumice stone or nail brush to scrub away all that dead skin. When completely clear, rinse off and dry well.
- After washing, dry your feet, paying particular attention to the areas between your toes.
- Occasionally, treat your feet to a thorough massage paying particular attention to the arch of the foot. Massage each toe making sure to press the points around the heel. Use a natural hydrating moisturizer for your massage or some sesame oil.
- Trim your toe nails while they are soft and warm, cutting straight across the top of the nail in a neat line. Watch out for any signs of nail fungus which should be treated early on to avoid serious problems.
- Wear clean cotton socks which should be changed and washed frequently.
- Change your shoes regularly, ensuring that you don't wear the same pair two days running. In cold weather and to improve circulation, you can add a dash of cayenne pepper to your foot moisturizer or a sprinkling of mustard powder into your socks for added warmth.
- In hot weather when our feet suffer by being the sweatiest part of the body, pour some baking soda into your shoes and leave overnight to absorb any moisture and nasty odors.
- Go barefoot whenever you can but otherwise wear shoes that can breathe. Closed in shoes should be leather or canvas. Hot and cold therapy will invigorate and freshen your feet. Place your feet in cold water for one minute before switching to comfortably hot water for the next minute.
- Do not share towels, and wash your towels frequently.