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About Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is a common infection of the skin of the foot, usually caused by a fungus called dermatophyte. The fungus lives on dead skin, hair and toenails and thrives and multiplies in warm, moist environments (for example between your toes), leading to infection.

The infection is called athlete’s foot because it is easily spread in changing rooms and communal showers, shared by athletes, sports people and swimmers. However, anyone can develop the infection if their feet come into contact with tiny flakes of skin from another infected person. It’s best to start treatment as soon as possible as the infection is harder to treat if it spreads.

Western Medical View

Athlete’s foot is treated with antifungal drugs. These are available as creams, powders and sprays, most of which can be bought over the counter (OTC) at the pharmacist. Most people can successfully treat their athlete’s foot in about four weeks. The two main antifungals are terbinafine and a group of medicines called azoles. Both these treatments work equally well in curing athlete’s foot.

Chinese Medical View

In Chinese Medicine Athlete’s foot is caused by an invasion of Damp-Wind or Wind-Heat and by an imbalance in the body which allows the invasion to penetrate and the infection to spread. The imbalance usually involves excess Dampness, Damp-Heat in the body, weak Qi (the body’s essential energy) and weak blood circulation.

According to Chinese Medicine theory specific Chinese herbal formulas can be prescribed to relieve and treat Athlete’s foot by clearing Heat, Dampness, Wind and tonifying Qi and blood, as well as by calming the itching. Foot cream can also be prescribed in which natural ingredients refresh, sooth and disinfect feet and stimulate healing blood flow, thus working as a relief for Athlete’s foot.

Lifestyle Advice

For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation. Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.