The types of OTC products for foot health include pain medicines such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and products that treat athlete's foot, corns, calluses, blisters, and warts.
Depending on the intended use, some OTC foot products, such as lotions for moisturizing the skin, are considered cosmetics and not drugs. There are medicated powders and creams to treat athlete's foot. For corns and calluses, there are nonmedicated pads to improve comfort when walking, as well as medicated pads and patches that work to get rid of dead skin. Similar products are used to shrink warts. These products are typically made of salicyclic acid. They should be used with care so that healthy skin isn't harmed, and they should never be used by people with diabetes or poor foot circulation.
Matthew Holman, Ph.D., a scientist in the FDA's Office of Nonprescription Products, says consumers need to pay close attention to drug labels. "Consumers should read the indications, directions, and warnings carefully," Holman says. "A product won't be effective if you are trying to treat a condition that's not in the label. If it says to only use the product on intact skin with no open sores, that's important. If a product isn't working or the condition becomes worse, you need to seek a doctor's advice." People with heart disease, diabetes, and circulation problems should never self-treat because of the risk of infection.