2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Knowledge Base

Welcome to our extensive library of articles on health concerns and conditions, alternative therapies, nutrition, nutritional supplements, and much more. Acupuncture / Traditional Chinese Medicine Aging Allergies & Food Sensitivities Alternative Therapies Big Pharma Evils Bone Health Candida (Yeast) and Parasites Cardiovascular Health Case Studies Chiropractic & Physical Medicine Dermatology Digestion Diseases Ear, Nose & Throat Environmental Sensitivities Eye Care Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Fitness & Exercise Health Insurance Issues Healthy Lifestyle Immune System Inflammation Integrative Medicine Lyme Disease & Morgellons Men's Health Mental Health Nutrition, Nutritional Supplements, Vitamins, & Herbal Remedies Pain Management Sexual Health Thyroid, Adrenal, & Sex Hormone Issues Weight Issues Women's Health

Athlete’s Foot

What is Athlete’s Foot?
Athlete’s foot is the name given to a common fungal infection that occurs on the feet virtually always starting between the toes then spreading over the feet. The infection is one of the group called tinea by physicians, and the full name tinea pedis, refers to a fungal infection and its location (pedis means “foot”). Other locations for tinea infection include the scalp (tinea capitis, or ringworm), the genitals (tinea cruris), the nails (tinea unguium), and the entire body (tinea corporis).

The various fungi responsible for athlete’s foot thrive in warm, moist, enclosed places, such as that found inside poorly ventilated shoes and sweaty socks. The infection in the feet causes the skin between the toes to become itchy and sore, to crack and sometimes peel away. Most commonly, the space between the fourth and fifth toe is affected.

Athlete’s foot plagues more men than women, and rarely occurs in children under age 12. It is most common during the hot, humid months. Sometimes, the infection can clear up spontaneously, simply by improving foot hygiene and wearing better-ventilated shoes. Though harmless, the condition needs to be treated so it doesn’t spread further. Left untreated, the infection can spread over the entire foot and into the nails, or a secondary bacterial infection may develop as well.

Key Symptoms
•    Scaling, peeling, intense itching, or in severe cases, cracked skin between the toes. Almost always, the space between the fourth and fifth toes is initially infected.
•    Redness, itching, scaling, and tiny blisters along the sides and soles of the feet
•    Infected toenails that become thickened, discolored, and crumbly
•    Unpleasant foot odor

What Causes Athlete’s Foot?
Although the various kinds of fungi that cause this condition can be spread by direct contact–such as walking barefoot through showers, locker rooms, and around pools where others have left the infection behind–the term “athlete’s foot” is probably a misnomer. To thrive, the fungus requires an enclosed, warm, and moist environment. And there is a greater chance of developing the condition simply by placing sweaty feet into unclean gym socks or unventilated gym shoes than by direct or indirect contact with an infected floor. In addition, many inexpensive athletic shoes are made of vinyl, which does not breathe. It should be no surprise that athlete’s foot is virtually unknown in societies where people go barefoot or wear sandals.

The tinea fungus thrives on keratin, a protein found in skin, hair, and nails, and does especially well where there’s little air. Other tinea infections caused by various fungi include the scalp (tinea capitis, or ringworm), the genitals (tinea cruris, or “jock itch”), the nails (tinea unguium), and the entire body (tinea corporis). These are usually caused by different types of tinea, rather than a spreading of one tinea fungus into different locations. The exception is that some patients with jock itch are also found to have some athlete’s foot, and vice versa. Both are treated simultaneously and with the same medicine.

People have different susceptibilities to developing athlete’s foot and various fungal infections. In addition, the recent use of antibiotics, which kill off the beneficial bacteria that keep any fungus in check, can contribute to a flare-up. Fungal (yeast) infections in general also thrive on sugar, and some people with recurrent infections improve dramatically when they decrease the amount of sweets, simple sugars, and sweet fruit juices in their diet.

Conventional Treatments
Conventional treatment is extremely effective in treating athlete’s foot. Having tried both therapies over the years, my personal preference is conventional (after all, I am an internist). Lotrimin is an anti fungal available without a prescription. If the infection is accompanied by a lot of inflammation, Lotrisone is a combination of Lotrimin plus a mild cortisone cream, but this requires a prescription. You might say, “Can I combine the Lotrimin with an over-the-counter cortisone cream?” The answer is “Yes,” mixing them about 50:50. If Lotrimin isn’t working, the next step up is Oxistat, safe, effective, but does require a prescription.

For widespread infection (tinea on the feet and in the genital/rectal area), I prescribe Diflucan tablets (fluconazole) 100 mg a day for 3-4 weeks, a system-wide anti-fungal.

Treatment and Prevention
Athlete’s foot occasionally begins to clear up on its own with some simple self-care techniques (see below). Doctors routinely recommend a variety of antifungal creams, either sold over-the-counter or by prescription. The latter are a bit stronger and usually reserved for more stubborn infections.

And you can easily prevent getting athlete’s foot by drying thoroughly after a shower or bath, and paying special attention to the spaces between your toes. Blowing your feet dry with a hairdryer set on low or applying a foot powder can keep the skin especially dry. And, as mom used to say, change your socks. Most people get athlete’s foot in a public area, like a swimming pool or gym. Remember to wear flip-flops (your own flip-flops, dingbat)

A number of supplements and natural remedies can be very effective in treating athlete’s foot. Most cases begin to clear up in a few days.

Supplement Recommendations

Vitamin C helps the body fight fungal infections by boosting the immune system.

Tea tree oil, which has natural antifungal properties, is highly effective as a topical treatment. Look for creams or lotions that list tea tree oil as one of the top ingredients. You can make your own by mixing two parts tea tree oil to three parts almond oil (or another neutral oil).

For an antifungal foot bath, add 20 drops of tea tree oil to a small tub of warm water. Soak your feet for 15 minutes two or three times a day. Dry them well, then dab a few drops of undiluted tea tree oil on the affected skin.

Another option is to rub garlic oil onto the affected area, sprinkle garlic powder between your toes, or put some chopped fresh garlic into your socks. You needn’t go to a health food store for most of this, just check your kitchen.

If pure tea tree oil or garlic irritates your skin, try one of the following topical treatments: Apply goldenseal powder or ointment, or soak your infected area in a footbath containing 8 tsp. of goldenseal tincture with a pint of water.

Self-Care Remedies
Keep your feet clean and dry. A hairdryer set on low will help.

Launder towels you dry your feet with after each use.

After drying, apply antifungal lotion or powder. Avoid over-the-counter foot products that contain cornstarch, which may encourage fungal growth.

Wear clean, dry socks.

Choose well-ventilated shoes, and don’t wear the same pair every day.

Avoid shoes made with vinyl uppers.

Whenever possible, wear sandals or go barefoot.

Cut your toenails straight across to help prevent fungal infections.

Decrease the amount of simple sugars, sweets, and sweet fruit juices in your diet.

Be extra careful about these precautions when you’re  taking antibiotics for a protracted period of time.

When to Call a Doctor
If there’s no improvement in a week to 10 days after starting natural therapies
•    If self-care doesn’t clear up the condition completely within one month
•    If the affected area becomes red and swollen, develops blisters, or starts oozing pus. These are signs of a possible bacterial infection and will probably require antibiotics.
•    If your toenails become brittle, deformed, or discolored. This form of infection, called tinea unguium, is often very difficult to clear up and may require taking an oral antifungal medication for several months.

Products

Tea tree Oil (Eclectic)

Garlic Oil (Eclectic)

Goldenseal Ointment (if available)


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Upcoming Workshops

**Wellbeing for Seasonal Change
Three Saturday Workshops with Renee Zambo, RYT
October 28, November 18, and December 9 at 1:30-3:00PM
Fee: $49 for each or $120 for all three

Late Fall is the natural transition from our vibrant summer and harvest season, to a cooler and quieter time of year. While this transition is necessary for the natural world and ourselves, the shorter daylight hours and longer nights can have unique and challenging effects on many of us.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Register online or call WholeHealth Chicago at 773-296-6700
More>>

 

**Seasonal Transition with Ease
Saturday, October 28 @ 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Fee: $49.00 (as an individual workshop)

This first workshop in the “Wellbeing for Seasonal Change” series will include discussion on the significance of the Winter season from a yogic perspective. The science of Ayurveda will be lightly discussed as a method for learning more about our own internal rhythms and cycles, and how to best live in harmony with the natural world.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Register online or call WholeHealth Chicago at 773-296-6700
More>>

 

**Enhance Your Energy (All Season Long!)
Saturday, November 18 @ 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Fee: $49.00 (as an individual workshop)

Our posture can speak our mind, and reflect how we are feeling. Heavy coats and scarves place an additional burden on our shoulders as the months get colder. This second session in the “Wellbeing for Seasonal Change” series will discuss how to most efficiently use our energy at the beginning of the day, and restore our energy by the end.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Register online or call WholeHealth Chicago at 773-296-6700
More>>

 

**Facial Rejuvenation Guasha Class
The Ultimate DIY Anti-Aging Facial!

With Mari Stecker, LAc
Saturday, December 2, 2017, 1:30 – 3:00 PM, $65 course fee

Join us and learn a traditional Chinese facial rejuvenation technique that you can do yourself! Guasha treatment is a 2,000 year old Chinese massage technique that uses a flat tool to apply pressure to the skin to increase circulation as it moves along acupuncture channels.

Facial guasha is an easy to learn technique that:
* encourages blood flow and promotes radiance
* prevents wrinkles
* activates cells to regain facial elasticity
* drains fluids to detoxify skin and reduce puffiness
* sloughs off dead skin cells
* uplifts and tones skin
* firms up facial muscles
* minimizes dark circles
* promotes a healthy, younger and more radiant look

Space is limited and registration is required.
Register online or call WholeHealth Chicago at 773-296-6700
More>>

 

**Shamanic Healing Clinic
with Katie Oberlin
Monday, December 4, 2017; 10:30 am – 6:00 pm
30-Minute Sessions ~ $40.00 (regularly $55.00)

By appointment only for those who are new to Shamanic Healing

Harness the power of nature. Connect with your inner wisdom. Take a journey to welcome back parts of you that have been left behind. Learn about the oldest form of spirituality and healing on the planet.

Space is limited and registration is required
This clinic is only available for those who are new to Shamanic Healing
Register by
 calling WholeHealth Chicago at 773-296-6700
Read More>>

 

**Meditations For a New Season
Saturday, December 9 @ 1:30 – 3:00 PM
Fee: $49.00 (as an individual workshop)

Continuing the practice of mindful awareness and using energy efficiently from the previous two sessions, this third session of the “Wellbeing for Seasonal Change” series will explore practices of gratitude, contentment, and joy.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Register online or call WholeHealth Chicago at 773-296-6700
More>>

Recent Health Tips

  • 130/80: What The New High Blood Pressure Guidelines Mean For You

    You might not have known it, but last Monday, November 13, 2017, you may have awakened with high blood pressure (hypertension). Don’t feel alone. A massive increase in the number of people with hypertension occurred overnight when the definition of high blood pressure was officially …Read More »
  • Functional Medicine 101 + Introducing Dr. Alaina Gemelas

    Functional Medicine is without a doubt the fastest growing medical specialty of the 21st century. Public interest in it and public acceptance of it continues to please me. Every day I hear the sentence, “I made this appointment because I wanted a functional approach.” When …Read More »

November Sale – 20% Off Urban Moonshine Bitters

Done with the candy but next comes the turkey and pumpkin pie? Give your digestion a head start with bitters. Our bodies are primed for the bitter taste but if you’re not planning on a salad of dandelion greens any time soon, we’ve got you covered! Digestive bitters get the juices flowing, stimulating the production of digestives enzymes, bile, and stomach acid. As if preparing your body for digestion wasn’t enough, bitters are also used to help with sugar cravings.

Urban Moonshine is committed to spreading herbal medicine and supporting their local organic agriculture in Vermont.

For the month of November, all Urban Moonshine digestive bitters are 20% off in-store and online.
More>>