The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1070: How You Can Keep Your Feet Happy & Healthy

Common foot and ankle problems don't have to stop you in your tracks if you learn how to take good care of your feet.
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How You Can Keep Your Feet Happy & Healthy

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We rely on our feet to carry us throughout life, every day. What should we do to keep them from complaining?

Taking Care of Your Feet:

Podiatrist Georgeanne Botek explains how to manage warts, bunions, hammertoes and other common foot problems. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. What causes it, and how can you treat it properly?

How should you deal with ingrown toenails? What can you do about nail fungus?

Learn how you can protect your feet from blisters and what you should do if you sprain an ankle.


Some people are born with flat feet, while others see their arches sag over time. But everyone can take care of them.

The best treatment may be an orthotic insole. Does it need to be customized (pricey) or will a less expensive OTC orthotic work just as well?

This Week’s Guest:

Georgeanne Botek, DPM, is in the department of orthopedic surgery at the Cleveland Clinic.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free for four weeks after the date of broadcast. After that time has passed, digital downloads are available for $2.99. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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Download the mp3: Choose mp3 where you have the chance to select option

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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I have put much time in trying to figure out how to hear your podcast. Help! Love your show!

This was another excellent, thorough and easy to understand presentation of an important health topic. Thank you! I learned a lot. I was hoping the issue of Morton’s neuromas of the feet would be addressed.

Do you have any information on that topic? Many thanks for he fine work you continue to do. I used to listen to you on the radio when I lived in Michigan. Your program was carried by my public radio station so I am a long standing fan.

There was no discussion of the success of bunion surgery or hammer toes as advertised. Do you have a follow up?

I had toe nail fungus on my big toe for years. I agree with many of the comments that Dr. Botek had about treating it. My toe nail was so thick and would get caught on things and pull off. I tried the corn meal soak. Logistically that is kind of gross. You have this mixture and you either keep soaking your foot in the same slush or you have to figure out where you are going to pour it out and wash the bucket. Certainly you do not want to put a big amount of corn meal down your sink or even in your tub to wash your foot off. How often do you change the water and how long do you soak?

Then I tried the Listerine soaks, but I had some of the same questions. You could though pour it down the sink. But Listerine is not cheap and using in enough to cover your toe uses a lot. I also put Vicks VapoRub on it every night for months. Hard to think about doing any of those things for a year.

My dermatologist and podiatrist gave my one nail medicine to try, but I did not think it was working. Then last December (2015) I started on a new medicine that had just completed its trial. I had to use it every night for a year. You painted a little under the toe nail and on the base at night. It did not stain the sheets, dried quickly and you could use it over nail polish (a big plus.) It was very easy. I had to use a special mail order pharmacy to get it at a reasonable price and that was ok. I used half the amount that was supposedly necessary. Anyway, I now have a normal toe nail!

You still have not given any instructions for how to access a podcast. One writer even delineates the problem, suggesting that those of us who aren’t as technically literate could use direction. Instead of hitting the same pre-written “paste reply” multiple times to different questions, actually respond to the question, please.

I would prefer a written transcript of this podcast. Is one available? If so, how can I access it?

I wear Brooks tennis shoes, specifically their Motion Control style. They are expensive but I am flat footed with an arch. They are technologically built to correct this problem and give you strength and comfort and help one to walk and not pronate. This helps overall with walking. I wear them every day except for dress and am careful to buy Clarks shoes for those occasions.

Your choice of shoes can make a world of difference in a day’s time and foot health is so important. I would recommend buying the Brooks @ Omega Sports because their salespeople are trained on how to deal with foot issues. They measure your feet and have you walk to determine the right style shoe for you. In the last 12-15 years, I am now on my 3rd pair. I should have bought them more often!

I am disappointed with your new format. You use to have the complete article available to read. Now it’s on a Podcast and there are lots of advertisements. You give so much excellent information. Too bad you are making it so hard to access this information. I don’t want to listen. I want to read the information. Can you print the entire articles?

I listened to the podcast – wonderful information. I wear orthotics and just might try the Soul Insole. Thank you for that idea! The description of the show said Dr. Botek would talk about warts but she didn’t or did I miss that? Can you tell me what she suggested? My husband has a plantar warts. Thank you so much and for all you do!

I would tape a bean can to my left floor board and press on it (with my left foot) while driving to work. That relieved the pain. I understand there is a yoga pose for Plantars and I get relief by sitting on my heals with my feet pointed backwards. I got it from wearing no support loafers to work.

Hi Paul. My husband’s plantar warts aren’t painful but one turned into two so he’d like them gone before more show up. But thanks for your interesting remedies!

Thanks to the comments and recommendations on your website about dealing with toenail fungus, I am happily fungus-free!! After trying several of the home remedies (soaking with Lysterine, then a few months later with H2O2)I realized that I needed to find what I would be easiest that I would be compliant and consistent with. Vicks Vapor Rub to the rescue! Rubbing it on the toe nail every single night then putting on a thin sock did the trick after a few months! Now I still put it on every week or so to make sure that I don’t inadvertently reinfect my self with my shoes. Thanks for this excellent resource and service!!

After 2 years of metatarsal area foot pain where I could not go for walks nor stand without looking like a lame horse, with no custom orthotic relief and no good answers from multiple podiatrists, I overheard a conversation about Correct Toes and immediately ordered some online. The doctor who created them told me to get even wider shoes with no heel elevation and no toe spring (Altra’s for my wide feet), toe socks needed for the Correct Toes (I get Injinji) plus a paste in T form metatarsal pad from Pedaq. This gave me my life back. I could stand, walk and hike without pain.

How do you access the podcast? Where is the article?


We apologize for the confusion. Our podcast is available for download on the Monday following radio broadcast (March 4, 2017). Since this show was aired yesterday, our podcast will be available for download tomorrow (Monday March 6, 2017).

i too cannot see how to download the program (on feet) from today.
can you help?
many thanks


We apologize for the confusion. Our podcast is available for download on the Monday following radio broadcast (March 4, 2017). This show was aired yesterday, so our podcast will be available for download tomorrow (Monday March 6, 2017).

Couldn’t find the “Read Article”. Where is it?


We apologize for the confusion. Our podcast is available for download on the Monday following radio broadcast (March 4, 2017). This show was aired yesterday, so our podcast will be available for download tomorrow (Monday March 6, 2017).

Please explain peripheral neuropathy of the foot.

My symptoms: diminished balance, unsteadiness, concerns about falling, and persistent feelings of uncommanded movement that are not visible to a medical observer. I am losing my mobility. I’m 73, female, and otherwise very healthy.

Please describe successful treatment and cures for this condition.

In the last six months, I’ve been to four different doctors, (including a podiatrist, two neurologists, MD & DO). I’ve had ALL possible scans, labs and tests, including brainwaves, tried physical therapy and even dietary natural supplements. The supplements caused me to go to the ER with chest pains and mobility issues, but they found no problems. Nothing has helped, my condition now seems chronic, and after four months, the first neurologist recommended prozac, my second neurologist suggested it is peripheral neuropathy along with a pinched nerve, but appears to be out of viable ideas or treatment plans. What should I do? Where can I go for help? Who can treat me?

I read your emails often and was interested in listening to the podcast on foot problems and how to solve the problems. However, I observed no instructions on the web site on how to download the pod cast of listen to the pod cast. I am not very computer savey and need a helping hand. Where did I go wrong or did not see on your web site?

It would be helpful in your email about podcasts to state the day the podcast is aired. That way, you know when to look for it, and if has already broadcast, you know if you are within the four weeks you state in the email.


We apologize for the confusion. We overlooked adding the broadcast date to our information about this show. Our podcast is available for download on the Monday following radio broadcast (in this case March 4, 2017). Since this show was aired yesterday, our podcast will be available for download tomorrow (Monday March 6, 2017).

You mention everything but a chiropractor.



We apologize for the confusion. Our podcast is available for download on the Monday following radio broadcast (March 4, 2017). This show was aired yesterday, so our podcast will be available for download tomorrow (Monday March 6, 2017).

Are these shoes with springs in them good for older people too?

For years I had foot problems, sometimes pain so bad I couldn’t walk. One podiatrist prescribed a nighttime-wear boot-like device that seemed unrelated to my problems, and he said “yeah, but your insurance will pay for it”. I fired him; the next podiatrist made a custom orthotic which helped somewhat, but walking was still more painful than it was when going barefoot or wearing my Birkenstocks. Huh?

What’s different than wearing my shoes? Bottom line: My “official” shoe size as measured in the expensive shoe stores was 9B. By changing to a 10 1/2 EE, all my problems went away (including developing bunions), and have stayed away now for 15+ years. Your feet need room.

What is a good cure for achilles tendonitiois? My dr. has tried several options for this condition but nothing works. Help?

I have found that OTC insoles are a big help in reducing pain from metatarsal pain and hammer toe pain. There is an on-line store called The Insole Store with hundreds of types of insoles to address many foot problems. The ones with large metatarsal support bumps work wonders to give support and relieve pressure on painful areas. There are other on-line sources of insoles by Googling. Much less expensive and better choice than those at athletic stores.

So, where’s the article. I don’t want to watch a show. I don’t want advertisements. I want to READ what you advertised as “read article.” Where’s the article?

I had this condition several years ago. Several sessions of shock wave therapy at the physiotherapy clinic as well as an intensive stretching program helped me. I still need to do the stretches regularly. Look online for stretching exercises.

This article, like our other Show descriptions, is just a brief overview of what is in the radio show and podcast.

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