I have traveled for business for about 13 years. Never having had Athelete's Foot I was totally niave and wandered around many a hotel room rug barefoot and used moisturizers on my feet, legs, hands elbow and knees. It's not the bathroom or pool you have to worry about, it's the rugs!! Imagine my surprise when I finally realized that I had/have a raging case of Athelete's Foot and Tinea Corporis which is a fancy name for Athelete's Foot on other parts of your body. On my feet I have what is known as "moccasin style" Athelete's Foot. What that means is that there is a purple blue infection on the bottom and sides of the foot like a moccasin. Hard as heck to cure. Six years later I'm still battling it, fortunately for me I live in a warm climate and can mostly wear open shoes with no socks or stockings, but when at a client site I have to wear closed shoes and socks. On a very recent trip I came home only to find that I had a severe relapse on my feet and red lesions on my ankles and shins. I had worn Dr Scholls Diabetic Socks in my closed toed, but ventilated shoes, thinking they would be good for my feet and let them breathe... Unfortunately I didn't realize they weren't cotton based. DO NOT USE THEM if you have Athelete's Foot or Ringworm. Look for socks that are 90 per cent cotton or more. I developed a severe case of Ringworm/Athelete's Foot which I had nearly overcome. On top of that I also had toenail fungus which I'd never had before. It got so bad that in a matter of days I lost most of one toenail. Desperately, I searched and found this site. I went out and bought several bottles of Absorbine, jr and instead of Vicks Vapor Rub I bought Tiger Balm Ointment Ultra which is much stronger, but also more expensive. It works, but also irritated the skin so a mild secondary bacteria infection set in. I used that for three weeks and also did salt water and lemon juice or ACV foot soaks as often as I could. I finally got the infection to a point where I felt I could go back to my nail shop without infecting the entire community I live in. My nail shop is run by a lovely, caring, giving Viet Nahmese couple who would do anything to promote good, healthy feet. I trust them implicitly. They clean and sterilize all their metallic tools and UV them as well. I still suspect the toenail fungus came from my theraputic pedicures which were healing my skin, but it occured to me that the emery boards, buffer pads and some solutions used for French Pedicures, my favorite, were shared with other clients.... Thus the toenail fungus. It's appearance with the recurrance of Athelete's Foot was pure coincidence. Long ago they taught and convinced me of the value of rubbing fresh lemon or lime wedges on toes and other areas of the foot. It's always worked before now. Salt foot soaks with either lemon juice or ACV have also worked up until now. They were shocked to see what happened to my feet, toenails, ankles and shins in just one week of closed shoes and socks. I stayed away from the shop for two weeks after so it was a total of three weeks. One week later now four weeks, after visiting them here's what has made DRAMATIC improvement, meaning almost no red or pink lesions and the toenails beginning to heal.
1. Continue the Salt and Lemon or Lime or ACV foot soaks as often as you can. I can do it once or twice a day on weekends but during the week it's hard to do it even once a day. Soak for at least 15 minutes. Remove feet from the soak, but DO NOT DRY WITH TOWEL, let your feet air dry so the salt solution stays on your feet. This works really well if you do it just before bedtime.
2. My friends at the nail shop gave me, as a gift, they were NOT practicing medicine... A tiny tube of oinment I do not believe can be purchased in the US. It contains Clotrimazole, an antifungal, Betamethasone, not sure what that does, and Gentamicin, a powerful antibiotic. They suggested I put it on the very red angry lesions. I did and I could see results in hours. If you are in a country other than the US you may be able to purchase this ointment. You may be able to purchase this online from Viet Nahm, I'm not sure. If you can not, like me, I was able to successfully get the same results by purchasing Clotrimazole 2 per cent in the feminine section of the drug store, for vaginal infections. Gentleman, if this emabarrases you, get a sister, Mother or girlfriend to purchase it for you. In the longrun it's cheaper and stronger than what you can purchase in the Foot Care section of the drugstore. For the antibiotic portion of the creme I use the generic drugstore brand of Silver Colloiden ointment. It works! I put the Clotrimozole ointment all over my feet, ankles and shins. It absorbs easily with no smell. I only put the silver colloiden ointment on red, not pink spots. Do this twice a day, morning before socks and at night before bed NO SOCKS.
3. My drugstore chain just recently, in the last few weeks began carrying a product called _______. I believe it's a product out of the UK. It's active ingredient is Tolfunate 1 per cent. Even though it's not sold for toenail fungus, just the skin under and around the fungus, it seems to be helping. I also use it if I see any tiny pale pink spot anywhere on my body. It works. My mistake in the past was not addressing these tiny pale pink spots as soon as I saw them. The ringworm on my feet started out as pale pink spots from mosquito bites. Stupidly I igonored them. When I had to wear closed shoes and socks and they rubbed the spots... bingo, Ringworm....
4. I can't say enough how rubbing toes, toenails and feet with a wedge of lemon or lime has done over the years. That advice too, from my friends at the nail shop. (Obviously, it works on hands too! )
5. It occured to me that maybe I should look at myself internally as well. After some research online... Yes, everyone and their uncle talks about Probiotics.... But I also found out about Pau D' Arco. Sounded good, I always tend toward natural over chemical. Turns out I may not be able to take it internally but it works on other skin lesions like old age spots if rubbed on externally with a Qtip..... Many of mine are breaking up and going away... makes me wonder are they fungal based as well?
6. I seem to be sensitive to Probiotics too. If the tablet is too strong I get the runs. Have discovered if it is in tablet form I can cut the pill in half and be fine. Yoguhrt is still the best!! I think it is a good idea to treat the inside as well as out, as long as the Foot or Body Fungus seems to last.
Just a few comments to everything I've read here. Thanks all of you for sharing, it's really, really helped. For those of you who started a new treatment and felt it was "spreading", it probably wasn't spreading. The medicine just brought out infection that was probably already there so you could see it.
And PLEASE for those of you who have tried "scrubbing until it bleeds" PLEASE STOP THAT! That's how you will develop a secondary bacterial infection on top of the fungal infection you are trying to overcome. Skin is the largest body organ we have and it's fascinating in what it can do. Don't make what you have worse! Scarring will be almost nonexistant if you treat the fungus with what kills it and don't injure the skin in the process.
Killing fungas is a slow process, much slower than a bacterial infection, be patient, but most of all be persistant. You can may be skip a day or two if you are just plain too tired to complete the routine. I know, I have been many a night. But just because it looks "better" don't stop the routine. Fungus takes time to grow in your skin and even more time to kill it in your skin. Even after your skin looks healed, keep up with the treatments for at the very least four weeks and after that do some kind of preventive treatment so you never get a fungal infection again.