Athlete's Foot (Tinea pedis) is a form of ringworm associated with highly contagious yeast-fungi colonies, although they look like bacteria. Foot bacteria overgrowth produces a harmless pungent odor, however, uncontrolled proliferation of yeast-fungi produces small vesicles, fissures, scaling, and maceration with eroded areas between the toes and the plantar surface of the foot, resulting in intense itching, blisters, and cracking. Painful microbial foot infection may prevent athletic participation. Keeping the feet clean and dry with the toenails trimmed reduces the incidence of skin disease of the feet. Wearing sandals in locker and shower rooms prevents intimate contact with the infecting organisms and alleviates most foot-sensitive infections. Enclosing feet in socks and shoes generates a moisture-rich environment that stimulates overgrowth of pungent both aerobic bacteria and infectious yeast-fungi. Suppression of microbial growth may be accomplished by exposing the feet to air to enhance evaporation to reduce moistures' growth-stimulating effect and is often neglected. There is an association between yeast-fungi overgrowths and disabling foot infections. Potent agents virtually exterminate some microbial growth, but the inevitable presence of infection under the nails predicts future infection. Topical antibiotics present a potent approach with the ideal agent being one that removes moisture producing antibacterial-antifungal activity. Severe infection may require costly prescription drugs, salves, and repeated treatment.
A 63-y female volunteered to enclose feet in shoes and socks for 48 hours. Aerobic bacteria and yeast-fungi counts were determined by swab sample incubation technique (1) after 48-hours feet enclosure, (2) after washing feet, and (3) after 8-hours socks-shoes exposure to a aromatic oil powder-compound consisting of arrowroot, baking soda, basil oil, tea tree oil, sage oil, and clove oil.
Application of this novel compound to the external surfaces of feet completely inhibited both aerobic bacteria and yeast-fungi-mold proliferation for 8-hours in spite of being in an enclosed environment compatible to microbial proliferation. Whether topical application of this compound prevents microbial infections in larger populations is not known. This calls for more research collected from subjects exposed to elements that may increase the risk of microbial-induced foot diseases.