You know folks, everything that is being said to undermine my few initial remarks flies in the face of commonsense.
Primitive man had little if any athlete's foot or fungal foot infections. Today primitive peoples still have very little incidence of such diseases.
Now I hate to do this but truth to tell I am not a physician nor yet a Google Guru so I am forced to quote...trusting the sources:
Tinea pedis is the term used for a dermatophyte infection of the soles of the feet and the interdigital spaces. Tinea pedis is most commonly caused by Trichophyton rubrum, a dermatophyte initially endemic only to a small region of Southeast Asia and in parts of Africa and Australia. Interestingly, tinea pedis was not noted in these areas then, possibly because these populations did not wear occlusive footwear. The colonization of the T rubrum –endemic regions by European nations helped to spread the fungus throughout Europe. Wars with accompanying mass movements of troops and refugees, the general increase in available means of travel, and the rise in the use of occlusive footwear have all combined to make T rubrum the world's most prevalent dermatophyte.
Now what does occlusive mean? Well...slight divergence for clarity:
1. To close, plug, obstruct, or bring together.
2. To enclose, as in an occluded virus.
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012
Granted all footwear is to some degree ocullsive but footwear that cannot breathe, that prevents the possibility of breathing in some degree is going to be more occlusive than footwear that is constructed of materials and with techniques that deliberately
seeks, as much as possible, to minimize
The first reported case of tinea pedis in the United States was noted in Birmingham, Alabama, in the 1920s. World War I troops returning from battle may have transported T rubrum to the United States.
Obviously these fellows and their parents and grandparents had been wearing leather shoes for some centuries without significant problems. The difference? Rubber and other synthetics were not in common usage in the footwear industry prior to the turn of the 20th century.
What causes fungal foot infections?
A hot, humid, tropical environment (remember my reference to "jungle environment?) and prolonged use of occlusive footwear, with the resulting complications of hyperhidrosis and maceration, are risk factors for all types of tinea pedis. Certain activities, such as swimming and communal bathing, may also increase the risk of infection.
As I stated quite clearly for those who were still awake, such problems as I outlined are not going to afflict everyone. I think I used the words"genetic make-up"...
Tinea pedis is more common in some families, and certain people may have a genetic predisposition to the infection. A defect in cell-mediated immunity may predispose some individuals to develop tinea pedis, but this is not certain.
How do you treat or get rid of fungal foot infections?
Occlusive footwear promotes infection by creating warm, humid, macerating environments where dermatophytes thrive. Therefore, patients should try to minimize foot moisture by limiting the use of occlusive footwear and should discard shoes that may be contributing to recurrence of the infection.
Old shoes are often sources of reinfection and should be disposed of or treated with antifungal powders.
Patients should be cautioned to wear protective footwear at communal pools and baths and should attempt to keep their feet dry by limiting occlusive footwear. When occlusive footwear is worn, wearing cotton socks and adding a drying powder with antifungal action in the shoes may be helpful.
All the above quotes are from the same source with the exception of the definition provided for the word "occlude"
This next quote is from the book Fungal Disease in Britain and the United States1850-2000:Mycoses and Modernity(Science, Technology and Medicine in Modern History.
The grand narrative of twentieth-century medicine is the conquering of acute infectious diseases and the rise in chronic, degenerative diseases. The history of fungal infections does not fit this picture; indeed, it runs against it - this book charts the path of fungal infections from the mid nineteenth century to the dawn of the twenty-first century, both in Britain and the United States. It examines how fungal infections became more prevalent and serious over the century, a rise that was linked to the increased incidence of chronic diseases and to social, technological and medical 'progress'. In 1900, conditions such as ringworm, athlete's foot and thrush were minor, external and mostly chronic conditions – irritating, but mostly self-limiting. In the subsequent decades, these infections remained very common, but were better controlled by antifungal drugs. However, by the year 2000 doctors were faced by a growing number of serious and life-threatening fungal infections, such as invasive aspergillosis and systemic candidiasis. These infections principally affect patients who have benefited from medical advances, such as antibiotic treatment and transplantation, and those with immuno-compromised conditions.
Significantly rubber outsoles didn't really gain any market share until well into the 20th century when by-products of the petro-chemical industry became available. Coincidence? Perhaps, but reasonably, logically, objectively
, a contributing factor.
Additional tidbits I found which support my thesis::
The organisms that cause athlete's foot thrive in damp, close environments created by thick, tight shoes that can pinch the toes together and create warm, moist areas in between. Damp socks increase the risk. The infection isn't found as often in areas of the world where shoes aren't worn. Warm, humid settings that promote heavy sweating favor its spread.Dr. Eddy's Clinic Integrated Medicine - Web Journal
As regards foot odor:
The main cause of foot odor is sweat. Did you know that each foot has more than 250,000 sweat glands? The sweat itself is odorless, but it creates a beneficial environment for bacteria to grow and produce bad-smelling substances. Certain types of socks can contribute to sweaty feet because they provide less ventilation. For example, wearing synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon socks, may increase perspiration and therefore may intensify foot odor. Natural fibers such as cotton and wool are best as they provide the best ventilation for the feet.
Those who go barefoot tend to have fewer problems with foot odor, but keep in mind that wearing closed shoes without any socks at all is not a good idea as the shoe materials may also increase sweating and bacterial activity that cause odor. If you must wear shoes without socks for fashion’s sake, try dotting antiperspirant on the bottoms of your feet and between your toes. You can also sprinkle baby powder on the sides of your shoes before and after you wear them.
Any shoe can have the ability to make the foot sweat, and therefore smell – even sandals. Shoe materials that have a propensity to hold in moisture are those that have a greater likelihood to create the environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. Plastic shoes and those made of suede are two examples of materials that trap moisture, increasing bacterial growth and the risk for foot odor. http://www.emaxhealth.com/
As regards the tanning industry: J & F. J. Baker & Co. LTD has been in the same location for...what?...200 years? They haven't yet had to scrape off all the topsoil to make the proximate countryside livable nor has the run-off from any such tannery destroyed whole eco-systems the way that the shrimp fishery in Louisiana has been destroyed by Dow Chemical and sibs. Not to mention BP in the Gulf, etc., etc., ad infinitum.
BTW, in all
of my remarks I have emphasized...as in the last quote above...that rubber soled shoe only create a "greater likelihood
" of the problems I outlined. Not a certainty. Once again, for the sleepyheads, however--it's a game of russian roulette. Have at it....there is no shoe police (yet).
In passing...there are folks...objectively ignorant folks...posting here that make this discussion very like arguing with a teenager. And arguing with a teenager is like mud-wrestling with a pig--you soon come to realize that the pig likes it.
--Edited by DWFII - 10/19/13 at 11:15am