Training in any martial art can be taxing on your feet, especially if you are training without footwear like you would do in some kung fu schools. Training barefooted can be great for developing additional strength in the feet because of the reduction in support of the arches, but also because it allows you to grip the mat with your toes for stability. This is essential when training judo, karate and jiu jitsu . However it can also lead to various problems such as Athlete's foot and fungal nail infections. This guide will provide information on how to keep your feet clean and healthy, so that you can train as often as possible without risking the health of others and is a good alternative to having to visit your GP.
Fungal nail infections are caused by a fungus that grows in and under the nail, causing it to become brittle and yellow. Whilst it is not dangerous, it can become painful if it restricts the movement of the toe, and can be unsightly and embarrassing. Fortunately it can be treated simply, but it can take months of persistence. In order to kill off the fungus it needs to be treated everyday, and something that works well is coconut oil. It's anti-bacterial, fungal and microbial properties limit the growth and can reverse the problem with continued use. It also doubles up as a foot moisturiser and odour neutraliser. To accompany this you can also utilise a warm foot bath using tea tree oil which has similar properties. Just be sure to clean the bowl out after each use to prevent re-infection.
Athlete's foot is another condition that can be caught from other people or developed because of sweaty feet. Again it's a fungal infection but it develops on the skin between the toes. This leads to painful sores that need to be treated with sprays and creams from the pharmacy or with home remedies. These consist of using talc after showering to reduce moisture build-up, changing socks a couple of times a day and allowing trainers adequate time to dry before wearing again.
Both of these conditions are preventable, even more so if you use an anti-bacterial wipe after practice and wear fresh socks on the way home. If you are unable to treat the conditions speak to your GP and make use of your primary health care.