Although vinegar has anti-microbial properties that have long made it a go-to natural remedy against infections, its value as a topical treatment for toenail fungus and athlete's foot is questionable, writes Arizona State University nutritionist and researcher Carol S. Johnston.
"In the popular media, vinegar is commonly recommended for treating nail fungus," among other topical infections, "yet scientific support for these treatment strategies is lacking," writes Johnson, who has investigated many of the medicinal claims made on behalf of vinegar, for Medscape General Medicine
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But anecdotal support for using vinegar to treat these two common infections of the feet is still readily available on popular health and wellness websites. LiveStrong, for example, recommends
soaking the feet in a vinegar-based solution as a remedy for toenail fungus if your doctor approves, but adds that while vinegar "may inhibit the growth of bacteria on the feet" and "there is no evidence that suggests vinegar may help reduce nail fungus."
According to The People's Pharmacy
, a physician with a chronic and severe case of athlete's foot said vinegar cleared up his condition like no other treatment he had ever tried. "My feet stopped smelling immediately," he told the website. "The itching stopped immediately. When I dried between my toes, dead skin came off on the washcloth. The fissures healed and never recurred."
Reader's Digest reports
apple cider vinegar, applied to the affected area three to four times daily, is one of a handful of effective natural treatments used by athlete's foot sufferers.
Likewise, The Huffington Post calls regular vinegar foot baths
a "tried and tested" way of treating athlete's foot, and recommends a soaking solution that is one part vinegar and two parts water to prevent skin irritation.
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