A few simple preventative measures can go a long way to keeping your feet healthy. Daily foot care is particularly important for diabetics; especially for those with peripheral neuropathy, although everyone should wash, inspect and care for their feet daily.
Here are a few highlights from a recent WebMD article about Diabetic Foot Care:
Wash and Dry Your Feet Everyday
Examine Your Feet Everyday
- Check the tops and bottoms of your feet. Have someone else look at your feet if you cannot see them.
- Check for dry, cracked skin.
- Look for blisters, cuts, scratches, or other sores.
- Check for redness, increased warmth, or tenderness when touching any area of your feet.
- Check for ingrown toenails, corns, and calluses.
- If you get a blister or sore from your shoes, do not “pop” it.
Take Care of Your Toenails
- Cut toenails after bathing, when they are soft.
- Cut toenails straight across and smooth with a nail file.
- Avoid cutting into the corners of toes.
- If you’re having trouble cutting your toenails, consult your physician.
Be Careful When Exercising
- Walk and exercise in comfortable shoes.
- Do not exercise when you have open sores on your feet.
Protect Your Feet With Shoes and Socks
- Never go barefoot. Always protect your feet by wearing shoes or hard-soled slippers or footwear.
- Avoid shoes with high heels and pointed toes.
- Avoid shoes that expose your toes or heels (such as open-toed shoes or sandals). These types of shoes increase your risk for injury and potential infections.
- Try on new footwear with the type of socks you usually wear.
- Look and feel inside your shoes before putting them on to make sure there are no foreign objects or rough areas.
- Avoid tight socks.
- Wear special shoes if your health care provider recommends them.
- Wear shoes/boots that will protect your feet from various weather conditions.
- Make sure your shoes fit properly.
Tips for Foot Care in Diabetes
- Don’t wait to treat a minor foot problem if you have diabetes. Follow your health care provider’s guidelines and the first aid guidelines.
- Report foot injuries and infections to your health care provider immediately.
- Check water temperature with your elbow, not your foot.
- Do not use a heating pad on your feet.
- Do not cross your legs.
- Do not self-treat your corns, calluses, or other foot problems. Go to your health care provider or podiatrist to treat these conditions.
When to Talk to Your Doctor About Foot Care
Your health care provider should examine your feet at each visit. In addition, see your health care provider if you have any of the following problems with your feet:
- Athlete’s foot (cracking between the toes)
- Sores or wounds on your feet
- Ingrown toenails
- Increasing numbness or pain
- Blackening of skin
- Hammer toes (when the middle joint of toes is permanently bent downward)
Please share this blog post with friends, family & co-workers who may be affected by diabetes. To access the full-text WebMD article about Diabetic Foot Care, visit: http://diabetes.webmd.com/guide/caring-feet.
Singh, N. JAMA, 2005; 293:217. Boulton, A, New EnglandJournal of Medicine, 2004; 351:48. Lipsky, B, Clinical Infectious Diseases, 2004; 39:885.