1. Take Care of Your Feet
The number one diabetic foot care tip is to inspect your feet daily and call your doctor immediately if you notice anything out of the ordinary, no matter how minor.
The best way to take care of your feet is to properly manage your diabetes. Try to make healthy lifestyle choices and manage your blood sugar. Unmanaged blood sugar can damage the nerves and arteries. Ask your health care provider to create a diabetic foot care tip plan that fits your lifestyle.
2. Wear Shoes
It is very important that people with diabetes always wear shoes and socks. Never walk barefoot – not even indoors. It is very easy to step on something and hurt your feet.
If you have neuropathy, you may not even realize that you have injured your feet. Many people with diabetes also have reduced blood flow, which makes wound healing very difficult.
Wear sturdy, supportive shoes that fit well and give your toes room to move. Shop for shoes at the end of the day when your feet are most swollen.
When trying on shoes, wear socks to help ensure a comfortable fit. Shoes that are too tight can cause blistering during the break-in period. Break in shoes slowly to avoid discomfort and abrasions.
Vinyl and plastic shoes are not recommended for people with diabetes. Vinyl and plastic do not allow the feet to breathe. This means your feet may get overheated, sweat, and become wet which may cause further damage to the feet. Shoes made of these materials are also highly unlikely to support the feet. Athletic or walking shoes made of canvas or leather are good choices for daily wear. They will support your feet and allow them to breathe.
Before putting on your shoes, always run your hand through the insides to remove rocks or sharp objects that may have fallen into them. If you feel rips or rough edges inside the shoe, our diabetic foot care tips suggest it's time for a new pair.
3. Keep Your Feet Clean
Always keep your feet clean. Wash your feet with a mild soap, and dry them well especially between the toes before putting on socks and shoes. This foot care tip will help inhibit bacterial and fungal growth. Wear clean socks everyday and pull or roll them on gently.
4. Protect Your Feet
Never walk barefoot; always wear socks and shoes even indoors. It is very easy to step on something and hurt your feet without proper protection.
Protect your feet from water that is too hot or too cold. For people with diabetes, neuropathy can make foot and leg care difficult. Our diabetic foot care tips suggest using your elbow to check the temperature of bath water before stepping into the tub.
Discolored and yellowed toenails that are thick and brittle are signs of a fungal nail infection. Ask your doctor to prescribe a long-term medication to treat the infection. This will also improve the nail appearance and protect your feet from further infection.
Never attempt to remove corns or calluses yourself. Removing them yourself can result in infection. Our diabetic foot care tips suggest that you protect your feet by always making an appointment with a foot care specialist to remove corns or calluses.
5. Wear Socks
Make sure socks are not too large or small. Check socks for seams, holes, or bunched areas that can rub on the feet.
If you have a problem with cold feet, wear socks to help keep your feet warm instead of using hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. If you have neuropathy, these products could burn your feet, and you may not notice.
If sweaty feet are a problem, our diabetic foot care tips suggest that you wear socks that contain moisture-wicking fibers. The moisture-wicking action absorbs moisture and draws it away from your skin. Cotton or wool retain moisture against your feet and can become compressed and abrasive. They also can lose their shape easily and wrinkle and bunch in the shoe.
6. Take Care of Your Skin
Dry skin can become an irritating problem for people with diabetes. Our diabetic foot care tips suggest that you never soak your feet because soaking the feet can further dry out skin causing cracking and irritation. If you have dry skin, rub on a thick moisturizer after washing and thoroughly drying the feet. Always take care not to get the lotion between your toes because extra moisture can lead to infection. There are also special oxygenated lotions available, which are specially formulated for people with diabetes.
Cracking and itching between the toes can be signs of athlete's foot fungus. In order to prevent more serious problems, our diabetic foot care tips suggest that you treat it right away. There are inexpensive over-the-counter creams available for treatment. Ask your doctor to recommend a cream, or to prescribe a pill.
7. Promote Healthy Blood Flow
Reduced blood flow can be serious problem for people with diabetes. Our diabetic foot care tips suggest that you take special care to keep the blood flowing to your feet. Elevate your feet when sitting and wiggle your toes for at least five minutes two or three times a day. You should also move your ankles up and down and in and out to help improve blood flow to the legs and feet.
Keeping the blood moving to your legs and feet can help prevent complications. You can always be more active. Simply ask your doctor to plan an exercise program that is right for you. Walking, dancing, and swimming are all great exercises, and are not too hard on the feet and legs.
Always warm-up before exercising, and include a cool-down period. You should also take special care to wear supportive, properly fitting socks and shoes during exercise.
Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It also contributes to your overall health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control, and promoting all around well-being.
This is only general information and is not meant for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Always consult your physician or other health care provider about all health concerns, conditions, and recommended treatments.