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Q:
I have diabetes and know it is important to take good care of my feet. Which foot care products are safe for me to use?

A:

The foot care aisle of your local Walgreens or CVS can be overwhelming. There are products that can help with your daily foot care, but there are also products that are dangerous. The Hewitt podiatrists at Wayne Foot & Ankle have compiled this list of product dos and don’ts for our diabetic patients

Do Try These Safe Products:

  1. Corn and callus cushions – These donut shaped pads keeps pressure of corns and calluses. If you use these pads, remember to change them often. You do not want to put the skin under the pad at risk of infection.
  2. Moleskin – Moleskin is made of soft cotton flannel with an adhesive backing. Moleskin pads can provide padding and reduce pain caused by bunions, calluses, or corns. However, moleskin is not a substitute for properly-fitted shoes. If you use a lot of moleskin, you may want to talk to your doctor about custom orthotics.
  3. Foot powders – Foot powders absorb excess moisture and control odor. See your podiatrist if foot odor persists or if you notice redness or itching.
  4. Orthotic insoles If you are considering custom-made orthotics, you may want to try over-the-counter insoles before you invest your money. 

Don’t Try These Potentially Dangerous Products:

  1. Arch bandage – An arch bandage is designed to put pressure on an injured arch. It can relieve pain, but it cannot fix the underlying problem. In addition, the compression provided by the bandage is potentially dangerous to diabetic patients because the pressure can reduce blood flow to the foot. Don’t use arch bandages if you have diabetes.
  2. Corn and callus removers – These products contain salicylic acid which can cause damage to the healthy skin around the corn or callus.
  3. Foot files – Diabetic patients should avoid using foot files, foot smoothers, and callus shavers. These products are aggressive and can cause injury to the skin. If you must remove dead skin, use a pumice stone.
  4. Detoxifying foot pads – These products don’t work. Instead of foot pads, use soap and water to keep your feet clean. If you notice a problem with foot odor, contact your podiatrist. Foot odor is a sign of infection.

Foot care products are no substitute for regular diabetic foot care. If you have diabetes, you should see your podiatrist once a year and whenever there is any sign of foot injury. To schedule an appointment with a podiatrist in Hewitt or Wayne, contact Wayne Foot & Ankle Center at 973-595-8900.