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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

5 Tips for Treating Athlete’s Foot : From a board-certified holistic podiatrist

Jun 02, 2015 01:09PM ● By Pamela Hoffman, DPM

As the weather warms up, it brings an increased chance of athlete’s foot (a.k.a. tinea pedis).  Fungus loves dark, warm, wet places, and your shoes and feet are the perfect incubation sites. You can avoid or treat itchy, sweaty feet—and keep blisters away—by following a few simple rules.

Purchase acrylic-blend socks. Look for labels that say “cool-max” or “dri-weave”—they will wick away perspiration. Cotton socks get wet and stay wet, so you should avoid them if you have athlete’s foot or are susceptible to fungus. If you are prone to sweating, it’s best to change your socks more than once day. In general, you want to keep your feet dry as much as possible.

Dry your shoes every day. Take out the foot bed or inner sole and stuff your shoes with newspaper. Even better, buy a ShoeZap or SteriShoe, devices that “zap” your shoes in 15 minutes and eliminate all fungus and bacteria. Antifungal shoe sprays are also a good option. And don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day; always rotate them. If shoes get old and smelly, it’s best to throw them away. You can sweat up to eight ounces of fluid into your boots on a hot day. 

Don’t go barefoot. Your bare feet should never touch the floor except in your own home and bath. When you shower in other places such as a gym or hotel, remember to wear shower shoes, flip-flops or slides. (Imagine how many people used that shower before you!) You may not get an infection every time you go barefoot, but you’ll pick one up eventually. Remember to wash your shower shoes or flip-flops, and keep your shower clean. 

Wash your feet with soap and water. Regular use of antifungal soap or cleanser will keep athlete’s foot to a minimum. You can also create a diluted vinegar solution (one part vinegar to ten parts water) and spray your feet once a day to eliminate fungus. Do not combine creams with powders. A natural therapeutic approach to fungus is to soak your feet in black tea. Steep four teabags in one quart of boiling water, allow it to cool, and then soak your feet for ten minutes once a week. Tea tree oil can also be applied to combat fungus. 

Dry your feet after bathing. Spend a few extra seconds on your feet, paying special attention to the areas between your toes. You don’t want to encourage a wet environment where fungus can thrive. 

If your athlete’s foot gets worse or doesn’t respond to these treatments, visit a podiatrist, dermatologist or internist. Many prescription athlete’s foot creams have become very expensive, so try these preventive strategies first.

Pamela Hoffman, DPM, is a board-certified holistic podiatrist who uses a comprehensive, integrative approach. She owns Katonah Podiatry PC, 200 Katonah Ave., Katonah, NY. For more info, contact her at 914.232.8880 or visit