Millions of people resort to over-the-counter (OTC) products to treat common ailments of the foot and ankle.  It is a billion dollar industry when you take into account the lotions, toe pads, arch supports, nails products and medicated products for skin issues.  When you need a product to address a certain foot condition, where do you start?   How do you select the right product for your needs?

In this blog series, I will write about the OTC products that patients most often ask about.  Let’s start with crooked toes.  Many patients have asked me about toe separators and bunion splints.  Manufacturers claim that, when worn, toe separators and bunion splints will help balance and straighten out your toes.  There is no truth to that.  Crooked toes have a genetic predisposition due to the internal structure of the toes.  The separators cannot straighten the toes nor will they add to your balance.  Instead of buying toe separators, buy little toe pads to relieve pressure to the toes that rub against the shoes or to toes that rub against each other.

The same can be said about bunion splints.  These products do not work and will not return the toes to their original position because the underlying cause is the internal bone structure and musculature.  Instead, buy bunion pads that provide cushion to the bump against the shoes and wear wider shoes.

In the next installment of “Buy This, Not That” I’ll write about calluses and athlete’s foot and what you can do to treat these conditions at home.

Dr. Dang H. Vu is a highly rated Baltimore Podiatrist maintaining offices in Reisterstown and Towson for more than 15 years.  He works hard to gain the trust and confidence of his patients. Dr. Vu is proud of the high praise and positive reviews offered by his Baltimore patients. He is board certified by the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery. He is a member of the Maryland Podiatric Medical Association and the American Podiatric Medical Association.