Athlete's foot, caused by the fungus Tinea pedis, is the reddish, cracked, flaky skin seen usually between the toes. It thrives in warm, moist places and is contagious. It can be contracted through contact with infected skin particles at home in the bathroom or in public places like locker rooms, showers or around public swimming pools.
It is a common, persistent infection of the foot caused by a dermatophyte - a microscopic fungus that lives on dead tissue of the hair, toenails and outer skin layers. These fungi thrive in warm, moist environments such as shoes, stockings, and the floors of public showers, locker rooms, and swimming pools. Athlete's foot is transmitted through contact with a cut or abrasion on the bottom surface of the foot. In rare cases, the fungus is transmitted from infected animals to humans. There are at least four dermatophytes that can cause tineas pedis. The most common is Trichophyton rubrum.
There are four common forms of athlete's foot.
The most common is an annoying, persistent itching of the skin on the sole of the foot or between the toes (often the fourth and fifth toes). As the infection progresses, the skin grows soft. The centre of the infection is inflamed and sensitive to the touch. Gradually, the edges of the infected area become milky white and the skin begins to peel. There may also be a slight watery discharge.
In the ulcerative type, the peeling skin becomes worse. Large cracks develop in the skin, making the patient susceptible to secondary bacterial infections. The infection can be transmitted to other parts of the body by scratching, or contamination of clothing or bedding.
The third type of tinea infection is often called "moccasin foot." In this type, a red rash spreads across the lower portion of the foot in the pattern of a moccasin. The skin in this region gradually becomes dense, white, and scaly.
The fourth form of tinea pedis is inflammatory or vesicular, in which a series of raised bumps or ridges develops under the skin on the bottom of the foot, typically in the region of the metatarsal heads. Itching is intense and there is less peeling of the skin.
People with acute tinea infections may develop similar outbreaks on their hands, typically on the palms. This trichophyde reaction, also known as tineas manuum, is an immune system response to fungal antigens (antibodies that fight the fungal infection).
Fungal infections are controlled by the skins PH levels.
Fungal infections thrive in warm, slightly acidic and moist environments.
Athletes foot is slightly acidic in nature and cannot survive well in Alkali or a base solution. Therefore the effective treatment should be to change the PH levels of the affected areas of skin with the application of an Alkaline based solution such as a foot soak, consisting of a weak solution of 5 litres of warm water with half cup of Sodium hypochlorite (Bleach) or 5 litres of warm water mixed with 1 heaped teaspoon of Potassium hydroxide (KOH). Both feet should be soaked in the solution for 15 minutes daily for up to 7 days to eradicate the fungal growth and prevent spreading to other areas.
Fungal nail growth
This treatment also cures fungal nail growth as it penetrates deep into the areas where traditional medication ointments treat only the surface layers of skin.
It is recommended that the dilute solutions do not exceed the strengths as suggested above, as it will readily burn and damage sensitive skin.
As with all treatments, you should seek independent advice from a physician. Always consult your Doctor if you take medications or suffer from any other ailments as treatment may interfere with your current treatments and/or cause additional problems.
Your skin will feel slimy to the touch after treatment with Alkaline based solutions which will aid greatly in your pedicure treatment and exfoliation.