Foot Care Tips for People with Diabetes
People with diabetes are prone to developing severe infections that are slow to heal. The feet are especially susceptible to infection, even from something as common as an ingrown toenail. Nerve damage produced by diabetes can cause numbness in the feet that reduces the person’s ability to feel pain from an injury or infection. An infection can become so serious that it results in the need for amputation.
Controlling your blood glucose level with diet, exercise, and your daily insulin intake can go a long way toward preventing foot problems. The following tips also can help you take better care of your feet:
• Check your feet every day. Look for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling, and use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet.
• Wash your feet every day. Bathe your feet in warm (not hot) soapy water every day and dry them well, especially between the toes.
• Keep your feet soft and smooth. Apply a moisturizing lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet but not between your toes.
• Smooth corns and calluses gently. Use a pumice stone to gently rub rough spots away.
• Trim your toenails each week. Cut them straight across and file the edges gently with an emery board or nail file.
• Always wear shoes and socks. Never walk barefoot, because you could injure your feet. Wear shoes that are comfortable and fit well.
• Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Wear socks if your feet get cold at night.
• Keep the blood circulating to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your feet up and down for a few minutes two or three times a day. Do not cross your legs for long periods. Do not smoke.
• Be more active. Ask your doctor to help you plan a regular exercise program.
• See your doctor regularly. The doctor will check your feet for any potential problems. Call your doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after a day. Follow your doctor’s advice about routine foot care.