St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

By Richard Johnson DPM
Coastal Foot & Ankle Wellness Center 

Foot Myths: Don't Believe the Hype


August 1, 2019 | View PDF

People have used home remedies for foot ailments for many years. Many of these “cures” are not medically sound. Below are some foot myths, debunked.

• Listerine and Vicks VapoRub will cure toenail fungus. The claim is that these chemicals will cure toenail fungus and provide a safe alternative to prescription antifungal pills and a cheaper alternative to topical fungal medications. These chemicals cannot effectively penetrate the skin underneath the nail where the nail fungus is located. Nail fungus should be diagnosed with a nail biopsy/culture from a nail clipping and treated properly with either prescription topical or oral medication.

• Vinegar can cure foot odor. People often mix a water and vinegar soak to treat foot odor. Vinegar contains acetic acid and may contribute indirectly to reducing foot odor. The most efficient way to kill odor-causing bacteria is by using antiperspirants on the skin of the foot. Just as antiperspirants work on underarm odor, it helps to reduce the sweating that leads to the bacteria in the first place. So, while a vinegar soak for foot odor may be helpful in an indirect way, there is a better, more efficient solution to this problem.

• Aspirin and ibuprofen are good treatments for plantar fasciitis (heel pain). Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen is believed to help with heel pain. However, these medications provide only temporary pain relief and, alone, do not treat the underlying condition. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of a ligament on the bottom of the heel. A combination of appropriate stretching, icing, proper shoe gear, orthotics and anti-inflammatories is more complete method of curing heel pain.

• Fungus cannot survive inside an unworn shoe or boot over time. In fact, fungus can live in a dormant state just waiting to infect or re-infect a foot or toenail. If you had foot fungus last season, take precautions by using an anti-fungal spray on boots and shoes that were worn last season before wearing them this season.

• Pennies and duct tape can kill warts. While there are people who will swear that they got rid of their warts with either or a combination of duct tape and pennies, there is no scientific proof that this works. Warts are caused by a virus which infects the epidermis (outer layer of skin) and needs to be treated/killed appropriately.

We have been treating your feet in St Augustine and Palatka for over 19 years. Make an appointment today with Richard Johnson, DPM or Jose Concha, DPM at (904)826-1900 in St Augustine or (386)328-1122 in Palatka. At Coastal Foot & Ankle Wellness Center, we are setting the highest standards for your foot and ankle care.


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