What Is All This About Athletes Foot / Foot Fungus...Why Do I Have It?

foot fungus

Because the foot fungus loves us...seriously it does. We have its food- skin. We cover our bodies with clothes making the environment dark, warm and moist. So everyone should have AF right? No, they don't.

Why is that? Well, it is only when the right factors combine, our skin becomes damaged and fungi see an opportunity and jump straight in.

Therefore, AF is present because of damage to the skin. Also if the skin is either too wet or too dry.

Our body likes to be in a state of balance- it doesn't want to be too much of one thing or another. If the skin is too dry it becomes microscopically cracked leading to invasion from fungal organisms. If the skin is too wet then that causes the skin cells to move apart and again allow the organisms to infiltrate your skin.

There are many reasons on how our feet can become sweaty...or too dry. Generalized sweaty feet, dry feet, teenagers, synthetic socks, sports, same shoes/ running shoes, swimming pools, shoe stores, medical illnesses, family members- the list really goes on.

A good transmission route is to find a source of AF and then accidentally pick it up. This is where most AF cases come from. AF can survive within skin cells which shed upon the floor, for months if not years.

The picture below shows plenty of issues:

  1. socks and sandals. The point of the sandal is to "air" your feet. The sock is stopping that from happening
  2. socks are also causing darkness
  3. warm day- adding sweat to those socks
  4. the sandal is not a walking/ running shoe- so bad footwear to start with
  5. if you have issues with you feet (e.g. diabetic) then wearing a closed in shoe with socks is the only way to go.
foot fungus

5 common ways you actually got your foot fungus

Once they are in, we do all our best to keep them there. We put on shoes and socks which gives the fungus a dark, warm, damp area to live in. We wash our feet yet rarely dry our feet well- providing extra moisture. We even walk around in sweaty/ wet socks, which again, increases the moisture content and increases fungi growth.

They use your skin as food and munch away at it- it becomes an irritation. This causes the classical signs of foot fungus.

It must be mentioned:

1- Medication. If you are on medication that reduces your body's natural defenses- like chemo therapy, steroids etc, then there is a likeliness that you are going to be more prone to a fungus.

2- Certain conditions. Now this one gets ignored by medical professionals an awful lot. If you have something like Diabetes then you are going to be at a higher risk of AF. This is, simplistically because Diabetes does three things:

a- It reduces your body's own defenses.

b- It affects a part of your nervous system that affects how you sweat. Normally your skin is slightly supple. Because your nervous system is controlling how and when you sweat- automatically. With Diabetes that sweating mechanism is affected. Therefore you can either get a sweaty or a dry foot. A sweaty foot increases the likeliness of fungus infection and a dry foot becomes cracked and the skin loses its suppleness, so a fungus can jump straight in.

c- You may also have an excess of sugar running around your body and especially on your skin. For the fungus, sugar basically acts as gravy that adds to the flavor of the meal.

3- Foot fungus is sometimes called “fungal infection”. The infection part scares many people. What you will find is that the fungus will spread because it is finding more sources of food.

In a worst case scenario (if the fungus goes unchecked and left to go rampant) then the skin can crack. Now this is a breach in the most sophisticated defense systems around. If your skin breaks then friendly bacteria which cover our skin can become opportunistic and jump in through that crack and become a bacterial infection.

4- Zoophilic. Meaning “animal loving”. It is not uncommon for pets to harbor infection and then spread it onto the human host. Unfortunately where the animal sheds its fur is an area for infection.

5- Non Typical Foot fungus. This usually appears if the patient has traveled abroad and then suddenly an AF appears.

So now that we have a good idea of what causes it. How on earth do we get rid of it?

Treatment methods for foot fungus