Blog - Dr. Tammy Gracen BSc. DPM

COVID-19 Update

Our goal is to provide quality medical care of your foot care needs, and my staff and I are dedicated to remain open during these difficult days of social separation.

Although maintaining a clean office is always important to us, we are taking extra efforts to make your visit here as safe as we can, including sanitizing each exam room between patients, frequent hand washing, and staggering our patients so that you should not have to sit in a crowded waiting room.

If you have recently felt ill, we would encourage you to reschedule your visit. We respect your safety as we strive to take care of your needs, and are prayerful that the spread of the Covid-19 virus will be minimal in this area!

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)

Buy in Canada


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. 



Custom Orthotics

We also offer quality custom orthotics

Business Hours

Please call office for business hours

Contact Info

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

Online Foot Pads

Please visit for Quality foot pads shipped anywhere in Canada.
Providing Laser Toe Fungus treatment in the Vancouver Lower Mainland