What is it?
Athletes Foot is the most common fungal infection of the skin. It can appear in three forms:
1.) Toe web infection usually occurs between the fourth and fifth toes. The skin becomes scaly, peels, and cracks. Some people also may have an infection with bacteria. This can make the skin break down even more.
2.) Moccasin type infection may start with a little soreness on your foot. Then the skin on the bottom or heel of your foot can become thick and crack. Sometimes the infection can spread to the palms of the hands. In bad cases, the toenails get infected and can thicken, crumble, and even fall out. Fungal infection of the toenails is a separate issue that is addressed here.
3.) Vesicular type infection usually begins with a sudden outbreak of fluid-filled blisters under the skin. The blisters are usually on the bottom of the foot, but they can appear anywhere on your foot. You also can get a bacterial infection with this type of athletes foot.
Statistics show that 70-80% of the world’s population has experienced athlete's foot at some point in their lives. So, if you are a sufferer, you have A LOT of company! It’s no secret that some people tend to host this nasty fungus, but no one knows why.
Risk factors you cannot change
Being male. Men are more susceptible to athlete's foot than women. Could this be because women tend to change their shoes more often, wearing different pairs each day??? Click here to read about reducing your risk factors for this infections.
Having a history of being susceptible to athlete's foot infections. If you’ve gotten infections before, you may continue to have flare ups...which could be caused be reinfection from your own shoes or perhaps from an infection that was not completely cured.
Having an impaired immune system due to conditions such as diabetes or cancer.
Living in a warm, damp climate. People in tropical countries are much more likely to have and host this infection.
Aging. Athletes foot is more common in older adults. Children rarely get it.
There are some risk factors you CAN change. Finding the right kind of soap could be an answer for you. I think I've found it: something called Defense Soap. It was made for wrestlers to protect them against bacteria, fungus and viral infections that accompany close contact sports. This soap is more effective than a simple anti-bacterial. It can help by killing the fungus that causes athlete's foot. There is also a product that can create a natural barrier on your skin and in your clothes. Check out their website referenced here.
If you are having any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should have your doctor look at your feet. There are many topical treatments that may help rid you of a minor infection, however, if you are suffering from recurring infections, have an accompanying toenail fungus (yellowing, thickening, and/or crumbling toenails), or suffer from a moccasin type infection that is resulting in persistent dry skin heel cracks, then you should seriously consider an oral medication such as Lamisil to treat this condition. Persistent dry skin heel cracks have been routinely associated with a moccasin type athletes foot infection. Many people don’t realized this and spend tons of energy treating the dry skin, rather than the underlying possible cause: a chronic athlete's foot fungus infection of the skin. This type of infection doesn’t always respond well to topical treatments. What often happens is, a topical (prescription or over the counter) ointment will be applied, which will mildly relieve the red rash, without fully irradicating the infection embedded deep in the skin. The dry skin rash will just return, as will the heel cracks. This condition can be dangerous because open cracks of the skin can leave you vulnerable to more serious infections and to the continued occurrence of flair ups of the athlete's foot. It’s like a vicious cycle that continues to deepen with time.
Oral vs. Topical Treatment for Athletes Foot:
I’ve searched the web and have yet to find anyone recommending oral Lamisil for athletes foot, and I’m wondering why? For years I’ve been troubled by recurring athletes foot infections that destroyed my toenails, left me with dry, unsightly skin and painful recurring heel cracks that sometimes prevented me from walking without extreme pain. For years I obediently followed the standard suggestions: prescription strength topical ointments, soaking, disinfecting shoes, wearing flip flips whenever showering in public places. I tried every imaginable home remedy and topical solution for my infected nails, while avoiding salon pedicures and the wearing of sandals. Still, the infections returned, and the dry skin heel cracks continued to errupt.
At my whit’s end and determined to get something that worked, I finally broke down and went to a podiatrist to obtain a prescription for oral Lamisil. I had previously been warned about the possible risks involved in the oral form of this medication but was assured by my doctor, that the risks were extremely minimal for someone in good health. I determined to take supplements to help cleanse my liver and to drink plenty of liver detox tea while on the Lamisil. About 60 days into the 90 day treatment I noticed something amazing! Not only had my toenails started to look more healthy, but my athlete's foot was totally gone! What’s more...I noticed that my dry skin heels cracks had also disappeared!!! If you’ve read my article on heel cracks, you are aware that I recommend a daily routine to keep callouses under control and to keep heel cracks to a minumum. My routine involved daily rasping and moisturizing. I simply never left the house in open backed shoes without thoroughly moisturizing. It was fairly easy to remember this routine, because I almost never got up and walked around without feeling a little pain from dry skin heel cracks. I even carried a tube of heel crack cream in my purse because I regularly experience cracks that opened up during the day. Well, on one particular day, about 2/3 of the way through my oral treatment, I absent mindedly forgot to rasp and moisturize before leaving the house in my sandals. I realized about half way through the morning that I had forgotten to moisturize, so I looked down to inspect my feet and to my surprise, instead of seeing dry, ugly, cracked up heels, I saw beautifully moisturized, healthy heels that looked even better than my heels normally looked, after heavy duty moisturizing. I couldn’t believe my feet looked that good, without moisturizer on them. I realized that I hadn’t suffered with a heel crack in weeks, and that most of the old cracks had slowly healed up and completely disappeared without my realizing it was happening! It was so odd to see this transformation and the only thing I had done differently was the oral Lamisil. It all started to make sense to me. The persistent dry skin cracks were infection related and I had only been treating the symptom. The Lamisil was getting at the athlete's foot infection from the inside out and I am convinced that this is the only way to truly get rid of this type of athletes foot infection.
By keeping pedicure gel on my toenails, I have been able to stay completely free of onychomycosis (toenail fungus). If you continue to do the same “dumb” things you did before without changing your routine in any way, you will probably end up back in the same condition you were in before treatment. So, click here for a list of risk factors you can change to avoid reinfection by athletes foot.
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