Houston podiatrist treats dry skin on feet from diabetes

Choosing the perfect diabetic foot cream isn't exactly easy. There are so many creams available in the pharmacy, the choices can be daunting. Add to that, manufacturers who market creams specifically for the diabetic foot. 

While it seems like those products would be your perfect choice, that's not always true. In fact, many of these creams, are the same general use cream. They've just been repackaged for diabetic clients. And that fancy packaging comes with a significant price mark up.

So, how can you find an effective foot cream? And not pay premium prices? Here's what you need to know. 

What is the Right Foot Cream for a Diabetic to Use? 

In truth, there is no "best" cream for a diabetic to use. Many different products could preserve your foot health. As long as you use it regularly, as instructed by your diabetic care team. 

Why is this such a critical product? It is important for you to use a cream to maintain the health of your skin. Daily use will help you avoid dry, cracked skin, which can lead to an infection.  Also, engaging in a daily moisturizing routine can remind you to perform daily foot checks. And that's the best way to prevent ulcers and even amputations. 

Now, that's why you need to use a foot cream every day. In a minute, I'll share some of my favorite brand recommendations. But first, I want to help you understand the difference between a cream and a lotion. And I also want to make it clear why you need to use the former, not the latter. 

Foot Cream vs Lotion: What's the Difference? 

 Lotions combine lots of water with a low ratio of oil droplets to help deliver skin moisturizing benefits. These products are usually not greasy, and have a lighter weight than a cream. 

In contrast, a cream mixes equal parts oil and water. This results in a product that's thicker than a lotion. And, thanks to that thickness, creams can help moisturize skin, like lotions. But they can also create a skin barrier that locks in existing moisture in the skin. The result? Better, longer-lasting hydration. Which is why diabetics need to use foot creams, not lotions. 

Now that we've got that covered, let's get back on topic. (Finding the best foot cream for diabetic feet, in case you didn't remember.) 

Great Foot Creams for Diabetic Feet 

As I mentioned, there are plenty of quality foot creams that can protect your diabetic feet. But people often ask me "what is the right cream for a diabetic to use?" So, in response to that query, these are some of my favorite creams. All will do a greta job at hydrating your feet. Just don't mistake them as the only products that can help your feet stay hydrated. 

Over the Counter Creams for Diabetic Feet

My favorite commercially available creams are Cetaphil and Eucerin. I also carry Foot Miracle cream in my Houston podiatry office which many of my patients, diabetic and non-diabetic alike, prefer.

Heavy Duty Diabetic Foot Creams 

In situations where your foot is particularly dry, or if the skin is cracked, you will need a creme that is stronger. In these cases, I recommend a creme with Urea or Lactic Acid to better soften the skin. Once, you could pay for these cremes as a prescription product with insurance. However, today, most insurance companies have stopped providing this benefit. For this reason, we carry two Urea creams, Gormel creme (20% urea) and Kera-42 creme (42% urea).

No matter what cream you use, the most important thing is to use it at least daily. If you stop applying the cream, your feet will return to their previously dry condition. Apply cream to the top and bottom of your feet and rub it in so it disappears. You should NOT, however, put cream between your toes. If you have dry skin between your toes, Dr. Andrew Schneider can recommend an alternative that is safe for you to use. 

Preventative Diabetic Foot Care 

Following a regular moisturizing routine is just one way you can protect your diabetic feet. But it can't be the only thing you do. So, what other steps should you add to your daily diabetic foot care? 

First, you should wash your feet every day. This should happen before applying foot cream, and should be a cleaning, not a soak. Use warm, never hot water. And, as soon as you finish washing, dry your feet thoroughly. Especially in those spots between your toes. 

It's also important to keep your feet covered at all times, even in your home. Going barefoot is too risky for diabetics. Especially if you suffer from neuropathy, and have reduced sensation in your feet. 

Whenever you leave the home, choose supportive footwear that fit your feet properly. (Not too loose, and not too tight.) Always wear socks with those shoes. And, if you've had a history of ulcers or other foot concerns, we should have a conversation about prescription diabetic shoes. 

To help boost your blood flow, try to elevate your feet above your heart several times a day. And while you move through your daily activties, take a few moments to wiggle your toes, several times a day. 

Most importantly, if you notice any changes in your foot appearance, you have to consider it an emergency. That means you call me that same day and request an immediate appointment. This is the best way to make sure diabetes doesn't destroy your foot health. 

Caring for Diabetic Feet in Houston, TX

Now I've reviewed how you can take daily steps to protect your diabetic feet at home. But I view your care as a partnership. So I want to share some of the ways that I can support your foot health in the office. 

I want my patients with diabetes to come in quarterly for comprehensive exams, even if you don't have any current concerns. 
During these visits, I can spot brewing problems. I can even monitor your overall foot temperature using special technology. If I detect any warm spots, we'll know this is an area at risk for ulcer formation. And we can take steps to keep them from ever developing. 

Of course, I can only help you if I see you. That's why I always say, no diabetic foot health question is too simple to ask me. 
If you are unsure what cream is the best choice to use, contact Tanglewood Foot Specialists to receive recommendations. And if you're due or overdue for your next in office exam, schedule your appointment today