So far we have busted common foot product myths including products that claim to treat bunions and hammertoes as well as socks and shoes with a claim. We busted or confirmed claims on foot slings, socks, spreaders, and even shields. This month is all about fungus! We have four products that patients commonly use to treat onychomycosis, more commonly known as toenail fungus. These products were not necessarily made specifically to treat this condition, but as one of the most common podiatric problems patients’ suffer from, it’s easy to understand why America would try some at home remedies. As we begin our busting brigade, remember all these products are being used to kill toenail fungus.
Product: Vick’s Vapor Rub
Facts: Vick’s vapor rub does not kill toenail fungus. However, just like Vick’s will open up your nose and help you breathe easy, it also helps to open up the pores in your nail. The nail is porous, so using Vick’s can help open up the pores, allowing for deeper penetration of topical medication. Vick’s usage for toenail fungus has been such a common misconception that the company actually had to add a FAQ online addressing the mistaken belief!
Facts: Vinegar does not kill toenail fungus. What it does do though, is help to soften the nail bed, again allowing for easier penetration of fungal medication. Keep the vinegar in the kitchen, not in the medicine cabinet!
Facts: Not the verdict you were expecting, right?! Believe it or not, garlic bulb extract is an antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral agent that works synergistically with Vitamin C to help kill harmful germs. Dr. Oz, “America’s Health Expert”, has raved about the use of garlic on nails on his show. He recommends adding chopped to a bottle of nail polish, let it “stew” for 7 to 10 days and then paint onto nails for stronger nails. Rather than bothering with a clove of garlic and smelling like a vampire killer, just use nail polish that already has garlic formulated into it.
Product: Tea Tree Oil
Facts: Tea Tree Oil is an essential oil containing antiseptic and antifungal qualities. It made from tea tree leaves native to southeast Australia. Don’t confuse the tea tree with the tea plant used to make black and green teas. Just like with garlic, we recommend purchasing a nail polish that has tea tree oil infused in it to help with the treatment or maintenance of toenail fungus.
If you have questions about your nails take the guess work out of it- visit your podiatrist who can properly evaluate your condition, provide expert advice, and recommend treatment that works!