Have you ever heard a myth about your feet and wondered if it was true? Our podiatrists often get asked about common foot and leg myths – some bizarre, some ‘secret remedies’, and others that may seem like common sense. So today, we thought we’d debunk ten of these common foot myths and stomp out what truth – if any – there is to them.
1. Your Feet Shrink As You Grow Older
Truth: Your feet won’t shrink with age – at least not in the traditional sense – but for some people, they may appear smaller from losing some of the fatty padding over time. Others may find their feet getting bigger or wider instead, as the ligaments that support the feet and arches aren’t as strong as they used to be.
2. Cut A ‘V’ In The Centre Of The Nail To Cure An Ingrown Toenail
Truth: Having an ingrown toenail means that part of your toenail has painfully pierced the surrounding skin and is growing into it. Cutting a notch or a ‘V’ out of the centre of the toenail does not change this fact, so it does not cure an ingrown toenail. The only way to stop the pain is to get the painful piece of nail out with the help of your podiatrist.
We think this myth originated from the action of other cells in the body that come together when they’re removed or scraped off, but that’s not how nails work. Your toenail grows from the base of the nail, and the rest of the nail is pushed out. The area at the end of the nail cannot change direction on its own accord.
3. My Shoes Are Expensive, So They’re Good For My Feet
Truth: Some of the most expensive shoes we’ve seen were priced that way due to celebrity endorsements, ‘luxury’ brands, and the way they look, not because of their health benefits for your feet. Good shoes do not have to be overly expensive – you just need to know what to look for. Check out our guide to choosing good running shoes, school shoes or safety boots for more information.
4. Soaking Your Feet In Epsom Salts Will Cure Your Ingrown Toenail
Truth: While many people swear by Epsom salts to help relieve their pain, this is all it may help with – temporarily easing your pain and swelling. Unfortunately, the pain is only a symptom. Epsom salts don’t remove the nail spicule that has pierced the skin, so the pain will keep coming back until it’s taken care of properly.
5. Frogs Can Cause Warts On Your Feet
Truth: So many of us have heard it before – and this is definitely a myth. The only way it could be true would be if the particular frog was carrying the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which causes warts on the feet, but don’t worry, this virus is only carried by humans. Plantar warts are spread through direct contact with the virus, whether through a person that has the virus, or by sharing the same floors (or surfaces like shoes) as someone affected.
6. My Toe (Or Foot) Isn’t Broken Because I Can Still Walk On It
Truth: If your test for whether you’ve broken a bone in your foot is whether you can walk on it or not, you’ll want to change your game plan. You can walk on a broken toe or bone in the foot. The pain level will depend on which bone has been fractured, the severity of the break, and your threshold for pain, but many people can and do keep walking, which can worsen the injury or lead to other complications. If you suspect you may have broken a bone, get it checked and diagnosed ASAP.
7. You Can Increase Your Blood Alcohol Through Your Feet
Truth: One of the funnier myths we’ve been asked, but no, as far as we know, this is false. In 2010, Danish scientists soaked their own feet in vodka and then measured their blood alcohol levels. There were no indications of any increase in blood alcohol levels.
8. Having Flat Feet Is Bad
Truth: Flat feet are not inherently bad – and neither are high-arched feet. While having flat feet alone is not something you should worry about, it’s good to remember that flat feet contribute to a range of foot problems and pains. In these cases, supporting your feet and arches can help relieve the pain and keep it from returning. With that said, some people go through their lives with flat feet and never develop any foot problems.
9. Have Foot Pain? Walk On Sand, That’ll Fix It
Truth: While walking on sand may help strengthen your feet if you don’t have foot pain by making them work harder, walking on sand with foot pain is a lot more likely to flare up your pain, rather than make it better. When you make damaged muscles work hard, you can worsen your injury and exacerbate your symptoms.
10. My Feet Are Sore Because I’m Getting Old
Truth: Foot pain is not normal at any age. While our bodies do change as we age, pain is never something that should just be accepted or put up with – especially as we grow older and retire. There is always a cause of pain that isn’t just “age”. When you know the cause, you can plan to treat it, relieve the pain, and prevent it from giving you problems in the future. Putting up with foot pain and accepting it as part of your life is only a slippery slope to more pain and problems.
Need Help With Foot Pain?
Your local My FootDr team can help. We don’t follow any myths, and instead use evidence-based treatments to care for your feet now – and prevent your problem from recurring in the future. Book your appointment with our experienced podiatry team by calling us on 1800 FOOT DR or book your appointment online.