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Dangers of Using Over the Counter Products

ByPodiatry Station

Dangers of Using Over the Counter Products

Dangers of Using Over the Counter Products

This month we bring you the case of a 10-year-old boy whose parents were worried about a skin lesion on the sole of his foot.  Unsure of what this small black lesion was, they called their family GP who diagnosed a Verruca and told the family to go buy an over-the-counter product to treat the Verruca.

After being advised by their GP, the parents went to their local pharmacy and asked which product they should buy for their child.  The Pharmacist recommended a very popular brand, and the parents bought the ointment for their son.

They went home and religiously applied the topical medicament as advised on the packaging.  Only after two applications the boy started to seriously complain that his once painless small black lesion had now transformed into this large lump of hard skin which had become swollen and so painful that he was unable to walk.  The parents became extremely worried as this once healthy happy 10-year-old boy was now refusing to go to school and participate in sports that he was otherwise fond of.  All due to the extreme pain he was experiencing.

Over the counter products are not suitable for everyone and should be used with extreme caution especially for children.  They are not prescribed by a specialist based on an assessment and diagnosis, which means that they are not suitable for everyone.  Certain products consist of an acid mixture which once applied to the skin can result in a severe burn.  This is what happened with this boy.  However, the extent of the burn tissue was not fully visible as a thick plaque of hard skin had grown over the lesion, as seen in the pictures below.

Once this had all been painlessly cut back and washed out, the real problem was visible – a huge deep punch out wound. The wound luckily was clean and had not become infected. After applying some comfortable padding and filling the wound with an antiseptic dressing the boy went on to make a full recovery within a week, as seen in the picture below.



It is a common problem that Podiatrists see when patients have tried to self-treat using over-the-counter products.  If you experience pain after using an over-the-counter product, then this usually means that something is wrong.  You should STOP immediately and not continue to use the product as this will cause more damage rather than treat the condition.  Once more damage is caused, the treatment plan offered by a Podiatrist will take longer and end up costing you more money.

It is always recommended that you see a specialist who is qualified and experienced to treat the condition.  At Podiatry Station we are proud to offer the latest treatments and specialise in Paediatrics as well as adult care.

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