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Athletes Foot: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

What is Athlete’s Foot? 

Athlete's Foot is a fungal infection which can cause considerable discomfort, burning and itching. This condition can become very stubborn so it is wise to start athlete's foot treatment as early as possible and to take time to use some general preventative measures. Although some people who spend all their time barefoot never suffer from athlete's foot, it is when you are barefoot that you can pick up the fungus from damp and public areas such as swimming pools, showers and locker rooms. 

Table of Contents:

Types of Athletes Foot


Athletes footCauses of Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot, known as tinea pedis, is a fungal infection and like other fungal infections, it loves dark, moist and warm conditions. The tiny fungi grow and multiply on the human skin and especially the feet. A foot inside a shoe provides the perfect home for this condition and if left untreated, will continue to worsen leading to blisters and cracks that may result in infections.

This disease is very contagious and can be easily caught by walking barefoot particularly in areas used by the public such as gyms, locker rooms and showers. Sometimes this disease affects the toes, and especially then skin between the last two toes, which can peel and crack. Other times, people develop small patches of extremely itchy blisters or even dryness on the soles and along the sides of the feet. It may even lead to fungal infections of the toenails. The toenails can become badly damaged with scaling, crumbling and thickening and even their partial loss.

While it is not exactly known who is likely to contact the athlete's foot, there are certain conditions that make it easy for the fungus to take hold such as sweaty feet as well as tight socks or shoes. Neglecting to dry your feet properly after swimming, exercising or washing can all help to make matters worse.

Signs and Symptoms of Athlete’s Foot

An Athlete's foot does not restrict itself to just athletes but it is more common in males than females. Some 75% of all American guys will in fact suffer from this infection at some time in their lives and basketball players will definitely be included in this statistic. It is also thought that some people are genetically predisposed to the fungus while it is likely that once you have had athletes' feet, you are more likely to get a repeat infection.

The signs and symptoms of athlete's foot are mainly a rash on the skin of the foot or the skin between your toes can burn and itch. The skin may also peel and crack. There are three main types of athlete's foot with each type affecting different parts of the foot and each having a unique appearance.

  • Toe web infection usually occurs between the fourth and fifth toes when the skin becomes scaly, peels and cracks. There may be an infection with bacteria which can cause the skin to break down even more.
  • Moccasin type infection could start with a little soreness on the foot, before the skin on the bottom or heel of your foot becomes thicker and cracked. In severe cases, the toenails get infected and can thicken, crumble and even fall off. Fungal infection in toenails needs separate treatment.
  • Vesicular type infection is the third main type and usually begins with a sudden outbreak of fluid-filled blisters under the skin and usually on the bottom of the foot although they can appear anywhere on your foot. A bacterial infection is also possible with this type of athlete's foot.

Types of Athlete’s Foot

Acute and Chronic Athlete's Foot

The acute form of athlete's foot is the infection with moist, scaling between the toes with occasional small blisters and/or fissures. There is burning and itching accompanying the blisters.

The chronic form of an athlete's foot differs from the acute form in that it is relatively non-inflammatory. There is a dull redness to the skin and pronounced scaling. It may affect the entire bottom of the foot. It generally does not itch or cause blisters. There may well be a fungal infection of the toenails.

This condition is called athlete's foot for the very reason that it is mostly athletes who contract the condition.  Athletes frequent gyms, swimming pools, locker rooms and showers.  Here are a few precautions that you can take to minimize the risk of either passing on the infection to others or catching the infection yourself in the first place:

Treatment of Athlete’s Foot 

This condition is called athlete's foot for the very reason that it is mostly athletes who contract the condition.  Athletes frequent gyms, swimming pools, locker rooms and showers.  Here are a few precautions that you can take to minimize the risk of either passing on the infection to others or catching the infection yourself in the first place:

  • If you have athlete's foot, then treat the condition as early as possible.
  • Don't share towels, wash cloths, socks or footwear with anyone including members of your own family.
  • Wear thongs or other footwear in locker rooms and public showers and at pools when not swimming. Be aware that gyms have a lot of equipment used by many different people so that there is often excessive sweat and moisture on these amenities. Disinfectant is usually provided by the management so that clients can wipe down machinery themselves after use. One new possible source of infections to the feet is the use of shared exercise and yoga mats. So if you are a yoga fan, be aware of this possibility and invest in your own personal mat or purchase one of half a dozen kinds of yoga-mat wipes now sold in the US or other new products like hand and foot mitts.
  • If you are concerned about possible infection in your own home, then the same advice applies to showers and the pool area there. Keep the shower and bathroom floors well disinfected.

Homeopathic treatment for Athlete's Foot

Homeopathic remedies for athlete's foot focus on treating the fungal infection and its symptoms, such as itching, burning, and scaling. Here are some of the most common homeopathic ingredients used for athlete's foot:

  1. Graphites: Often used for skin conditions with intense itching and thick, discolored skin. It's particularly helpful when the skin is prone to cracking.

  2. Sulphur: Suitable for intense itching and burning, especially when symptoms worsen with warmth and bathing. Sulphur is a common remedy for various skin conditions, including fungal infections.

  3. Silicea (Silica): Used for athlete's foot with offensive sweating and pus-filled blisters. It's also helpful when the skin is fragile and heals poorly.

  4. Petroleum: Indicated for athlete's foot with deep cracks or fissures in the skin, especially on the heels or between the toes.

  5. Sepia: Useful for athlete's foot with a distinct discoloration, often accompanied by a ringworm-like rash.

  6. Pulsatilla: Chosen for cases where symptoms are changeable and itching is worse in a warm bed.

  7. Thuja Occidentalis: Often used for athlete's foot with soft, spongy, or crumbling nails. It's also indicated for warty or blistered skin.

  8. Antimonium Crudum: Suitable for athlete's foot with thick, horny skin, and nails that are discolored or brittle.

Each of these remedies is chosen based on the specific symptoms and characteristics of the athlete's foot. It's important to consult with a qualified homeopath to determine the most appropriate remedy for your situation. Additionally, while homeopathy can be a complementary approach, it's important to also consider conventional treatments, especially for persistent or severe fungal infections.

How Healing Natural Oils Athlete's foot oil works?

The ingredients in the H-Athlete's Foot Formula from Healing Natural Oils are as follows:

Active Ingredients:

  1. Calendula officinalis 12C
  2. Silicea 12C
  3. Thuja occidentalis 12C

Inactive Ingredients:

  • Corylus avellana nut oil
  • Essential Oil Blend (Cymbopogam flexuosus whole plant, Cymbopogon martinii aerial parts, Lavandula officinalis flower bud, Melaleuca alternifolia leaf-branch, Pelargonium graveolens whole plant, Thymus vulgaris stems & leaves)

Comparison with Common Homeopathic Ingredients for Athlete's Foot:

  • Calendula officinalis: Commonly used in homeopathic remedies for skin conditions, including fungal infections like athlete's foot. It is known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Thuja occidentalis: Often used in homeopathy for skin growths and fungal infections. It may help in reducing symptoms associated with athlete's foot.
  • Silicea: This ingredient is not typically associated with athlete's foot treatment in traditional homeopathic lists. However, it is used in homeopathy for skin and nail conditions.

How They Help with Athlete's Foot:

  • Calendula officinalis: Helps soothe irritated skin and promotes healing.
  • Thuja occidentalis: Aids in addressing fungal infections and may help in reducing itching and discomfort.
  • Silicea: Potentially beneficial for the health of skin and nails, contributing to the overall treatment of athlete's foot.

The combination of these ingredients in the H-Athlete's Foot Formula aims to provide a natural, gentle approach to relieving symptoms of athlete's foot, such as itching, burning, and irritation. The essential oils included in the formula also contribute to its soothing and healing properties.


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http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Athletes-foot/Pages/Introduction.aspx (Accessed Feb 10, 2021)
Barry L. Hainer. (2003, January 1). Dermatophyte Infections. American Family Physician. 67(1), 101-109
http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0101/p101.html (Accessed Feb 10, 2021)

Aaron DM. (2016). Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis).
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024878/.(Accessed Feb 10, 2021)

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Athlete’s foot.
mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/athletes-foot/symptoms-causes/syc-20353841 (Accessed Feb 10, 2021)

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