Taking good care of your feet can prevent problems before they start! Use the following tips to reduce your risk of common foot problems and serious complications associated with them.
Prevention Tip #1
Living with diabetes requires you to pay special attention to your health and your condition. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding diet, exercise and medication. Keeping your blood sugar (glucose) levels within the recommended range is one of the best things you can do to control your condition and protect your feet.
Prevention Tip #2
Carefully inspect your feet daily for redness, blisters, sores, calluses, and other signs of irritation. Daily foot checks are especially important if you have inadequate blood flow.
Prevention Tip #3
Follow these foot care tips to properly care for your feet:
• Wash your feet daily with non-irritating soap and warm water.
• Avoid soaking your feet.
• Dry your feet completely after bathing, paying special attention to the areas between the toes.
Ask your doctor which lotion is best for your skin type and health condition.
Prevention Tip #4
After bathing, use a pumice stone or emery board to smooth hardened areas of the feet that contain corns and calluses. Working in one direction is most effective. Consult your doctor on the proper way to use a pumice or emery board.
Prevention Tip #5
Use the following toenail care tips to help prevent ingrown toenails.
• Once a week, examine your toenails.
• Trim toenails straight across using a nail clipper.
• Avoid rounding or trimming down the sides of toenails.
• Smooth rough nail edges with an emery board after clipping.
• Consult your doctor for the proper way to care for your toenails.
Prevention Tip #6
Proper footwear, socks, and stockings can go a long way to help protect your feet. Follow these tips:
• Choose well-fitting socks and stockings that contain soft elastic.
• Wear socks to bed if your feet get chilly.
• Avoid walking barefoot, even at home.
• Wear properly-fitting shoes.
• Choose shoes made of soft materials.
• Protect your feet by always wearing closed-toed shoes.
If you need roomier shoes due to bunions or other deformities, extra wide shoes are available online and in specialty stores.
Prevention Tip #7
Follow these tips to keep blood flowing to your feet:
• If you can, prop your feet up when sitting down
• Wiggle your toes frequently.
• Take frequent breaks to flex and point your toes and circle your feet in both directions.
• Avoid crossing your legs, especially for long periods.
Prevention Tip #8
Avoid smoking and if you do smoke, quit. Smoking aggravates blood flow problems.
Prevention Tip #9
People who have diabetes should see a foot doctor (podiatrist) every 2 to 3 months, even when not experiencing foot problems. At each check-up, ask the doctor to thoroughly examine your feet. An annual foot exam should include:
• An examination of the tops and bottoms of the feet and in between the toes
• An assessment of skin warmth and redness
• An assessment of pulses in the feet and temperature of the feet
• An assessment of sensation using a monofilament tool
When should I contact my doctor?
Contact your doctor if you notice any of the following with your feet:
• Changes in skin color or temperature
• Foot or ankle swelling
• The appearance of corns, calluses, ingrown toenails, infected toenails, or dry, cracked skin
• Leg pain
• Foul-smelling, persistent, or unusual foot odor
• Ingrown toenails or toenails infected with fungus
• Oozing, open sores that appear to be draining and/or are slow to heal
Additional Information on Diabetes
For more information about Diabetes, consider the following:
American Diabetes Association
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases