An alternative remedy to soothe a resident’s dry feet

Years ago I was fitted for inside-the-shoe ankle-foot orthoses (leg braces) for both legs. Wearing support hose, the AFOs and my leather shoes for several months caused my feet to itch, redden, crack and bleed. My facility doctor at that time prescribed several expensive prescription antifungal creams. The creams would help for a while, but as soon as I stopped using them my feet were sore again.

This was done over and over. A couple of times when I was in the hospital for other issues, my feet were sore. The doctors there suggested only moisture cream made by a particular company. I used that cream and, again, it would work for a limited time and then the soreness and bleeding returned.

I searched for foot remedies on the Internet. One was to use Listerine between the toes to ward off fungus. When I asked my facility doctor about it, he laughed, but also said I could try it. It did work for a couple of years, although I eventually stopped because it dried out my feet.

After that the facility allowed me to purchase an over-the-counter antifungal cream which was put on my toes every day. The cream worked even though there were still times when my feet would bleed. I discovered that switching between two different brands of antifungal cream helped my toes to heal.

When I came to this facility last year, the doctor here would not write an order for the antifungal cream I had been using. Instead, a nurse would apply an over-the-counter cream which contained vitamins A and D. My feet were still a bit itchy but it worked well enough during the wintertime. However, when the weather got warmer, my feet were sore again. After more trial and error, we went back to using regular moisture lotion.

My personal driver suggested I try plain (unscented) tea tree oil. I bought a bottle and the nurse let the aides put it on. I was soon thrilled as it soothed my feet—my toes no longer itched or burned.

I have been using tea tree oil now for several months. When the skin nurse checked my feet the other day, there were no cracks or sore spots. Since the tea tree oil appears to be working, she wants me to continue to its use.

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