Blog - Dr. Tammy Gracen BSc. DPM

The Crazy Behind Wart Treatments

Do you wonder why some warts are so difficult to get rid of? Well, much like a cold, a wart is caused by a virus and we’re not very good a killing viral infections! With 100 or more strains of HPV (human papilloma virus) known, it’s difficult to pin down what the best treatment would be. If left alone, about 50% will spontaneously disappear within two years, but what do you do in the meantime? What if they spread or simply just persist?


Garlic: Garlic contains allicin (the stuff that makes garlic stinky). This compound heats up the tissue causing a mild burn followed by a blister. It is thought that garlic has some antiviral properties. You would tape a slice of garlic to the wart daily.

Banana Peel: Banana peel has a lot of potassium. It’s thought that the high potassium content burns the skin progressively peeling away the wart infested tissue. Take the banana peel with the fleshy side to the skin daily.

Vinegar: Vinegar may be slightly virocidal. Vinegar burns the skin causing the infected tissue to fall away. It is also thought that the local irritation stimulates the immune system to help fight the viral infection. Apply vinegar to a cotton ball and tape to wart.

Duct Tape: (The silver type) Duct tape likely causes local irritation with activates your immune system to help fight the infection. It will also macerate the tissue making it easier to remove.

3M Utility Duct Tape 2929 Silver, 1.88 in x 50 yd 5.8 mils (Pack of 1)""”>Buy on Amazon

Cimetidine: H2 receptor blocker. It affects histamine receptors on cells in the immune system, helpig them fight the HPV infection.

Imiquimod is a toical immunomodulator. It helps stimulate the immune system to fight the HPV infection.

Duct tape: The silver, rubber based is best. This creates local skin irritation to stimulate an immune response.

Peep-Toe Shoes Got You Down?

Peep-toe shoes can be great for alleviating pressure to ingrowing big toenails. They’re less confining than closed toes and, well… they’re cute!

Sometimes, however, the seams before the peep toe opening are a bit rough and other times a bit of slippage in the shoe can cause irritation over the toe.

Silicone gel pads can be a great solution to this problem.

This pad measures

2 1/2″ X 3″ .

I cut the pad in half and placed it over the problem area.

Silicone pads are washable and reusable. Because the pads are clear, no one will know they’re there!

Skin pH, Fungal Infections and Soap


Normal skin has a pH between 5.4 and 5.9. Skin is covered by an acid mantle which is made up of sebum (free fatty acids) and sweat ( lactic acid and amino acid). This acid mantle has a pH between 4 and 5.5. The pH scale (potential hydrogen) runs from 1-14, one being most acidic and 14 being most basic. Water has a pH of 7 so it is neutral. Our skin, therefore, is acidic.

Soap is a base. The average pH of bar soaps is 9-10. Bars of soap are made from fat saponified by alkaline solution (oil and either NaOH or KOH). Below a pH of about 6, the emulsion often breaks down.

Bar Soaps

Dove  (pH 7)

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AHAVA Purifying Mud Soap  (pH 5.5)

Drunk Elephant JuJu Bar  (pH 6.4)



Without getting into a too complicated discussion of how soaps work, they basically surround dirt and oil and allow it to be washed away.

So, why does that matter?

People who have a skin pH on the higher end of normal are more susceptible to fungal infections. (An interesting note is that mosquitoes prefer more acidic skin, so people that get repeated fungal infections are not the people who are particularly bothered by mosquitoes).

Sebamed Cleansing Bar (pH 5.5)


Aveeno Moisturizing Bar With Colloidal Oatmeal for Dry Skin (pH 5.5)


Redkin for Men Acid Balanced Cleansing Bar  (pH 5.5)



The effect of frequent washing with bar soap particularly is that the skin’s pH will be raised slightly and the skin will dry out, both of which encourage fungal infection.

If you are someone who gets fungal infections repeatedly, you might want to consider using a soap with a lower pH.  Also, consider using a urea or lactic acid based cream after bathing to reduce the pH of your skin, particularly your feet.

Liquid Soaps

J.R. Watkins Liquid Hand Soap, Lemon  (pH 5.5)


Everyone Hand Soap  (pH 5.3)


Alba Botanica Island Citrus Very Emollient Bath and Shower Gel  (pH 5)



pHisoderm Down (dry skin) or Up (oily skin)  (pH 5-6)



Also, a quick note on some common home remedies such as soaking feet in cider vinegar, peeing on your feet (ew…I know…but it’s out there), tea tree and oregano oils. These all act to acidify the skin.


PurSources Urea 20% Foot Cream (pH 5)

Eucerin Complete Repair Moisturizing Lotion  (pH 5)



Urisec 22 Therapeutic Moisturizer Cream  (pH 5.5  )

Galibelle Shoes – Endless Possibilities

I was recently in Kelowna, B.C. for my daughter’s dance competition. For those of you who are not “dance moms”, it leaves you with a lot of waiting around time! What better way to spend that time then shoe shopping? I found an interesting sandal shop in downtown Kelowna called Galibelle. The shoes are both designed and made in Brazil. The way they work is….you have 14 choices of sole styles, sized from 4 – 11. All the straps are interchangeable and are sized from small to extra large. As you can imagine, this leaves you with endless possibilities to accommodate heel heights as well as lumps and bumps like bunions and hammer toes. There are some great platform choices for those with stiff big toe joints. My only small complaint is that all of the uppers are vegan. I wish there were some leather options. Regardless, this shop is well worth checking out. 



The Little White Sneaker

Finally…..Spring!!! This is the perfect time to shop for…the little white sneaker. To help you along, I’ve tried on a bunch and will provide a little guidance on fit. Things to keep in mind when purchasing this style of shoe: Toe box, heel cup depth/rigidity, cushioning, arch support and heel height. Generally, they will all be lacking some of those features. The trick is to know what you need for your foot type.

Pes planus (Flatfoot) needs deeper, rigid heel counter and arch support. Removable footbeds will be helpful to you.

Pes cavus (High arch) needs shock absorption and not too flat a heel.

Hammertoes and bunions need upper with no stitching and deeper toe box.

Hallux rigidus (stiff big toe joint) needs inflexible sole in the forefoot or a generally thicker sole.

Ugg – Cas Slip-On

Nice fit in toe box. Reasonable heel counter and cushioned. You could wear these if you have mild hammertoes or bunions. This is also good for high arches.

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Ugg – Rooney

Also cushioned so good for high arches but squeezed in toe box.

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Cole Haan – Grand Pro Tennis

Roomy fit but not a lot of cushioning. Fairly rigid. Good for bunions, hammertoes, stiff big toe joint and flat feet.

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Coach – New York Low Top

Nice fit with stiffer heel counter. There is not a lot of shock absorption. I found the back of the heel hit a little high on my foot and likely would have irritted my Achilles tendon. This shoe is good for flat feet although you would need to add an arch support.

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Michael Kors – Irving Lace up

Narrow fit and shallow, however, the heel counter is fairly stiff and there is decent shock absorption. This is likely to work for a higher arch. There is no room for an added arch support. There is a lot of gold decorative trim which I would worry about chipping off!

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Sperry – Sea Coast

Shock absorbent with a generally good fit. Good for high arches and mild hammertoes. Not for severe pronators. (This is the one I bought).

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Tretorn – Nylite 15

Narrow toe box

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Converse CTA Shoreline

Comfortable but a bit narrow. Toe clearance is adequate.

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Puma – Basket Platform Strap

Comfortable and roomy. Wide velcro closure. Chunky look.

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Puma – Basket Heart Oceanaire

Removable footbed and average width. Good for flat feet but may be a problem for bunions and hammertoes.

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Keds – Triple Kick Jute

Shallow. Narrow fit. Adequate shock absorption. Not for hammertoes, bunions or severe flat feet.

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Cole Haan – Zerogrand Stitchlite

Narrow and not much shock absorption, but very lightweight.

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Converse – Chuck Taylor One Star Platform

Shock absorbent with slight heel raise. This was a good fit for me but may be an issue for bunions. The platform is fairly stiff so good for stiff or arthritic big toe joint.

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Vans – Classic Slip On (Unisex)

Nice overall fit, but very flat and no padding.

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P448 – John

Removable arch support. Fairly generous forefoot width and toe clearance. Overall good fit for flat feet, bunions and hammer toe.


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Ted Baker – Kelleip Trainers

Nice shock absorbent sole with a slight anterior rocker sole. Removable footbed. Good for high and low arches.

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J-Slides – Karla

Cute slip on, but upper is quite rigid and no shock absorption.


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Munro – Lulu

For narrow feet! Removable footbed but not a lot of shock absorption.


Tod’s – Perforated T Sneaker

Nice shock absorbent insole but upper quite rigid.

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Paul Green – Serena

Well supported with slight heel raise. Good for high arches.


Available at Nordstroms

Frye – Lena Zip Low

Good shock absorption but not for high arches (you’ll never get the zipper done up). Good for neutral feet.


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We also offer quality custom orthotics

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Contact Info

Dr. Tammy Gracen BSc. DPM
Phone: (604) 734-7331
Fax: (604) 559-6623
#530-943 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4E1

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Providing Laser Toe Fungus treatment in the Vancouver Lower Mainland