Category Archives: Dr. Canuso’s Blog

A blog by Dr. Dana Canuso about feet, skincare, and life.

MYTH 11: Using a foot peel once a month keeps feet healthy and soft

If you haven’t heard of a foot peel yet, you will!  It is a “sock” that you use on your feet for 20 minutes and then for the next 2 weeks, your skin will peel off like a snake.  These dangerous products are normally made with citric acid which basically burns off the top layer of skin on your foot.  The problem with this though is that it does not know the difference between good skin or bad skin and just destroys everything.  Removing too much of your protective skin layer can not only cause pain but can also lead to an ulceration or infection.  And the worst part of all is that in 2 weeks, the dry skin just comes back since the foot peel didn’t treat anything. 


TRUTH: A foot peel does not treat dry skin.  It only temporarily removes it and can cause pain, ulceration and infection.

MYTH 10: “Removing toenails will get rid of toenail fungus”

Years ago, it was common practice to remove toenails completely in the hopes that a new nail would grow in without fungus.  As podiatrists, we not longer think this way.  In fact, it is now avoided because removing the toenail not only opens up the toe for possible fracture and infection, it can damage the nail bed and cause the toenail to grow back deformed and uneven.


TRUTH: Removing toenails does not effectively treat fungus and it can damage the nail bed.

MYTH 9: “Toenail fungus is best treated over the counter with one product”

Toenail fungus starts as foot fungus then moves to the toenails.  If you only treat the toenails, the foot fungus can keep re-infecting the toenails.  This is why most toenail treatments seem to start working but then stop before the fungus is completely treated.  I have found that the most effective method of treating toenail fungus consists of two steps:

Step 1: Treat the foot fungus with an antifungal foot serum

Step 2: Treat the toenail fungus with an antifungal toenail treatment


TRUTH: Treating toenail fungus over the counter is most effective if you treat the toenail fungus and the cause of the fungus with two separate topical medications.

MYTH 8: “Toenail fungus is difficult to treat”

As I said before, fungus is like a mushroom, and needs a dark and wet environment to grow.  It only makes sense then that if you put a fungus in dry and light surroundings, it will not be able to multiply.  This is true for toenails too!  If you were to apply the most effective antifungal ever to your toenails but keep them wet and covered, it will never work.


TRUTH: Toenail fungus is easy to treat if you deny it the environment it needs to grow.

MYTH 7: Toenail fungus goes into your bloodstream then into your fingernails and lungs

This is simply not true.  Toenail fungus as well as foot fungus stays in the superficial layers of the skin and only travels naturally through skin to skin contact.  The fungus can be shared between toenails for instance with a nail clipper or pedicure tool, but this is not as common as you would think.    


TRUTH: Toenail fungus is only transmitted to other toenails or fingernails by skin to skin contact and does not go through your bloodstream.


MYTH 6: “Toenail fungus only comes from a Pedicure”

How did your grandfather get toenail fungus if he never had a pedicure?!  While there is the very slim possibility that you can acquire toenail fungus from a pedicure, most toenail fungus originates from foot fungus that is left untreated.  Since most people do not think that their dry skin is athletes foot, it goes untreated for years.  Over time, a small break in a nail or the nail bed allows fungus from your own foot to go into your toenails and cause toenail fungus.  


TRUTH: Toenail fungus comes from athletes foot you already had.

MYTH 5- “Dry heels only get better with pedicures, foot lotion, socks, peels, etc…”

Since dry skin is not a normal, chronic problem, once its cause is determined it is easy to treat!  What is the point of putting lotion on your feet every night for months if it never gets any better, or get a pedicure only to see your dry skin come back 7 days later?  Follow this thought process to get rid of dry skin:

  1. First 2 weeks: It is dry skin. Apply any moisturizing cream or lotion you have twice a day for 2 weeks.  If this does not improve your heels completely, it is not just dry skin.  Move on to #2.
  2. Weeks 2-4: It is dry skin caused by fungus.  Apply an anti-fungal foot serum twice a day for 2 weeks.  If this does not improve your heels completely, it is not just dry skin and fungus.  Move on to #3.
  3. Weeks 4-6: It is dry skin caused by an inflammatory reaction.  Apply a moisturizer mixed with over the counter steroid cream twice a day for 2 weeks.  If this does not improve your heels completely, it is not just dry skin and eczema or an allergy.  Move on to #4
  4. See a podiatrist.

TRUTH – Dry heels normally resolve in 2- 6 weeks once the cause is determined and treated.  

MYTH 4: “Only men get Athletes foot”

Athletes foot in men is what is typically pictured, that red and itchy rash.  But in women, because of the different types of shoes, work environments, and other lifestyle and hormonal factors, athletes foot presents as dry skin which is often overlooked and not even diagnosed as dry skin.  I’m sorry ladies, but that skin that comes off on your foot file or with a foot peel is most likely fungus, and neither of those methods is really going to get rid of it!


TRUTH: Both men and women get athletes foot, but it usually looks very different

MYTH 3: “Athletes foot is red and itchy”

Athletes foot is a fungal infection, basically a group of mushrooms that grows in dark and wet places and keeps multiplying.  Once it has the correct environment to really multiply, it turns into that characteristic red and itchy rash, usually in between the toes and on the bottom of the feet.  However, if the fungus starts growing, and has an environment that is not completely optimal for growth, it does not get past its “starting phase”.  This phase consists of what looks like normal dry skin and can even cause cracking or fissures  That typical image of dry,cracked heels….that is fungus!  If you look closely, you will notice small circular patches of dry skin that are absent with normal dry skin, indicating a fungal infection. 


TRUTH: Athletes foot begins as “dry skin” or “cracked heels” and grows into a red and itchy rash.