Athlete's Foot cure with natural and alternative methods, is there an effective way to get rid of this condition? by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
Natural treatment and remedy, are there herbs, vitamins, supplements or topical treatments that work?

April 20 2014

Is there a natural cure for athlete's foot? Perhaps. Athlete's foot is a common fungal infection that affects many people at some time in their lives. It affects affects the spaces between your toes, but it can spread to your toenails and the soles and sides of your feet. The infection can also involve your palms and fingers. Although it occurs primarily in adults, children may get this infection. Often, it responds well to over-the-counter treatments you can apply to your skin. More severe cases may require oral medications.... unless you follow some of the suggestions regarding this home remedy.

Dirty instruments and poor sanitation at some nail salons can put women at risk for diseases such as athlete's foot and hepatitis B and C.

Natural therapy for Athlete's Foot treatment, home remedy
Once a day, or twice, soak your feet in a water which has a handful of Epsom salt added to it. The Epsom salt acts as a drying agent. This natural treatment could work quite quickly and is effective in a large number of those who try it.
Wear sandals or keep your feet out of shoes as much as possible. For instance, while driving your car, wear sandals and put your shoes on when you get to work or your destination.
At night, while asleep, keep your feet outside the blanket in order to keep your feet cool. Apply tea tree oil before you go to bed. The fungi that cause athletes foot do not like the cold. They like a moist and warm environment to grow.
Change your socks during the day if you are wearing shoes all day. While changing your socks, apply an anti fungus cream or Tea Tree Oil.
Expose your feet to sunlight when possible.
Eating a healthy diet probably with low sugar intake may help, however we have not seen any studies that prove this.
Lactoferrin oral supplement has been tested.
Consider the use of tea tree oil cream two or three times daily. Tea tree oil can help reduce the severity of athlete's foot and is a good choice before going on to prescription medicines. z
Coriander oil has been tested successfully.

Athlete's foot natural treatment emails
I get my pedicures done regularly and caught fungus at the salon were I go. I am using an over the counter Nail Fungus treatment that is NOT working and last night half of my nail on the big toe just fell off. I am so afraid and don't know what to do. Please let me know what I can do?
   Epsom salt soaks are a great natural remedy.

I remember you talked about Epsom salt in one of your newsletters, would this help with athletes foot? Or are Lotrimin or Lamisil more effective? i have some bad in between my toes and they hurt.
   Epsom salt soaks can cure this condition.

Suggestions to prevent athlete's foot from getting a foothold on your feet:
Athlete's foot is mildly contagious. It can be spread through direct contact with the infection and by skin particles left on towels, shoes, floors of shower stalls and around swimming pools, and even pedicure shops.

Change socks, keep your feet dry and alternate shoes on different days.
Avoid damp, poorly ventilated shoes.
Athletes foot easily spreads in public places such as communal showers, locker rooms, pool areas, dance floors, and fitness centers. Wear rubber sandals and dry your feet thoroughly after walking in these areas.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine suggests these treatment options for athlete's foot, but, in my opinion, they are not enough to be effective: Use an over-the-counter antifungal cream or powder.Look for antifungals that include the ingredients tolnaftate, clotrimazole or miconazole.Keep using the antifungal medication for a week or two after symptoms subside. Thoroughly wash and dry your feet and toes. Wear clean cotton socks, and change them often. Keep feet dry at all times.

Athlete's Food Medication - Anti-fungal cream
These medications are available over the counter. One option is to buy 2 or 3 of them and alternate their use, perhaps this may work better but I have no proof of this. In my opinion, the use of Epsom salt soaks works much better than some of these medications.
Butenafine 1% cream (Lotrimin Ultra - Schering-Plough Health Care Products, Memphis TN.
Clotrimazole cream 1 % - distributed by the Kroger CO., Cincinnati, Ohio.
Clotrimazole cream 1% (Lotrimin AF) - made by Schering-Plough, Memphis TN
Terbinafine (Lamisil) cream 1% - made by Novartis Consumer Health, Parsippany, NJ.
Tolnaftate 1% cream - antifungal foot cream -  distributed by the Kroger CO., Cincinnati, Ohio.

Onychomycosis, fungal infection of the nail
If you have tinea unguum, or infected toe nail, keep the nail as short as possible and apply an anti-fungal cream to the skin around the nail, massaging it deeply. Tea tree oil is an good option. Onychomycosis is very difficult to cure. As a last resort, infected toe nails can be surgically removed. By preventing the spread of athlete's foot, nail infection can be minimized or avoided. See natural nail fungus for information on nail fungus cure.  

Oral medications as a last resort
Many of these athelete's foot medications may have liver toxicity.
Itraconazole (Sporanox)
Fluconazole (Diflucan)
Griseofulvin (Fulvicin)
Terbinafine (Lamisil)

Athlete's foot symptom and sign
The most common symptom of athlete's foot is cracked, flaking, peeling skin between the toes. The affected area is usually red and itchy. There may be burning or stinging, along with blisters, oozing, or crusting. In addition to the toes, athlete's foot symptoms and signs can also occur on the heels, palms, and between the fingers. If the fungus spreads to your nails, they can become discolored, thick, and even crumble.

Research study
Treatment of interdigital tinea pedis with 25% and 50% tea tree oil solution: a randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded study.
Australas J Dermatol. 2002.
We have conducted a randomized, controlled, double-blinded study to determine the efficacy and safety of 25% and 50% tea tree oil in the treatment of interdigital tinea pedis. One hundred and fifty-eight patients with tinea pedis clinically and microscopy suggestive of a dermatophyte infection were randomized to receive either placebo, 25% or 50% tea tree oil solution. Patients applied the solution twice daily to affected areas for 4 weeks. There was a marked clinical response seen in 68% of the 50% tea tree oil group and 72% of the 25% tea tree oil group, compared to 39% in the placebo group. Mycological cure was assessed by culture of skin scrapings taken at baseline and after 4 weeks of treatment. The mycological cure rate was 64% in the 50% tea tree oil group, compared to 31% in the placebo group. Four percent of patients applying tea tree oil developed moderate to severe dermatitis that improved quickly on stopping the study medication.

Effectiveness and tolerability of a standardized phytodrug derived from Solanum chrysotrichum on Athlete's Foot : a controlled and randomized clinical trial.
Planta Med. 2003.
Superficial mycosis such as Athlete's foot affects between 10 and 15% of the population and is amongst the top ten reasons for visiting the doctor in Mexico. The vegetal species Solanum chrysotrichum has been, for many years, widely used in Mexican traditional medicine for the treatment of fungal foot infections such as Athlete's foot. This paper illustrates the results of a controlled and randomized, double-blind clinical trial, which compared the therapeutic effect and the tolerability of a standardized phytodrug from S. chrysotrichum (experimental group) with 2% ketoconazole (control group), applied externally (4 weeks) to 101 patients diagnosed with Athlete's foot. After the treatment, the results showed a clinical effectiveness (> or = 75% improvement of signs and symptoms) of 96 % for the Athlete's foot group treated with the S. chrysotrichum extract and 91% for the ketoconazole group; the mycologic effectiveness (direct examination and negative culture) was 78 % and 77%, respectively; whilst the tolerability was 100% for both treatments. The therapeutic successes (clinical and mycologic effectiveness plus tolerability) was 74% with the experimental treatment and 69% with the control. These results support the safety and effectiveness of Solanum chrysotrichum standardized phytodrug for the treatment of Athlete's foot.

Clinical evaluation of Acalypha ointment in the treatment of superficial fungal skin diseases.
Phytother Res. 2003.
In an open non-comparative study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Acalypha wilkesiana ointment in superficial fungal skin diseases, 32 Nigerian patients with clinical and mycological evidence of superficial mycoses were recruited. Of the 19 patients that completed the trial, clinical cure was achieved in 73% of the patients. The ointment was very efficacious in the treatment of athlete's foot, Pityriasis versicolor and Candida intetrigo where the cure rate was 100% in each condition. It is recommended that Acalypha ointment can be used for the treatment of these superficial mycoses. 

Oral administration of bovine lactoferrin for treatment of tinea pedis. A placebo-controlled, double-blind study.
Mycoses. 2000.
A clinical study was conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of lactoferrin, which is a protein component of cow's milk, in the treatment of athlete's foot. Doses of either 600 mg or 2000 mg of lactoferrin, or a placebo was orally administered daily for 8 weeks to 37 adults who were judged to have mild or moderate athlete's foot. In the analysis limited to subjects with moderate vesicular or interdigital athlete's foot, dermatological symptoms scores in the lactoferrin-treated groups decreased significantly in comparison with the placebo group. The organisms isolated were Trichophyton rubrum and Trichophyton mentagrophytes. A mycological cure was not seen in any of the subjects. These results suggest that orally administered lactoferrin can improve the dermatological symptoms in some subjects with athlete's foot. The potential usefulness of lactoferrin as a functional food material for treating athlete's foot was seen for the first time in this study.

Adhesion of dermatophytes to healthy feet and its simple treatment.
Mycoses. 2000.
At several public baths, we isolated dermatophytes from the soles of healthy volunteers. We confirmed that a public bath is one of major sources of infection of dermatophytes. We showed that simple treatments such as wiping the sole with a towel; washing with soap; 100 steps on another mat; and holding the foot up for an hour, significantly reduced the fungi on the soles of six healthy volunteers.

Dermatophytoses such as tinea pedis and tinea unguium are very common diseases in the field of dermatology. The diagnosis of dermatophytoses is usually performed by direct microscopy and culture. The identification of species is based on morphological features of giant culture and slide culture. However, in some cases, it is difficult to identify the species clearly because the culture shows an atypical appearance or is false negative. Therefore, several molecular biological methods have been developed for precise identification of a species. The analysis of patterns of random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and restriction fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) of mitochondrial DNA is useful for identifying isolates which are not clearly identifiable by conventional biological techniques.