Do you want to avoid serious foot problems
that can lead to a toe, foot, or leg amputation?
Foot care is very important for each person with diabetes, but especially if you have:
1. Loss of feeling in your feet.
2. Changes in the shape of your feet.
3. Foot ulcers or sores that do not heal.
Nerve damage can cause you to loose feeling in your feet. You may not feel a pebble inside your sock that is causing a sore. You may not feel a blister caused by poorly fitting shoes. Foot injuries such as these can cause ulcers which may lead to amputation.
Keeping your blood glucose (sugar) in good control
and taking care of your feet every day
can help you avoid serious foot problems.
Use the guide below to make your own plan for taking care of your feet.
Share your plan with your doctor and get their help when you need it.
There is a lot you can do to prevent serious problems with your feet. Here’s how:
Take Care Of Your Diabetes
Make healthy lifestyle choices to help keep your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol close to normal. Doing so may help prevent or delay diabetes-related foot problems as well as eye and kidney disease. You doctor or health care team can help you with creating a plan specifically for you and your lifestyle so don’t be afraid to ask!
Work with your health care team to make a diabetes plan that fits your lifestyle. The team may include your doctor, a diabetes educator, a nurse, a dietitian, a foot care doctor called a podiatrist (pah-DI-ah-trist) and other specialists.
This team will help you to:
- Know when to check your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
- Know how and when to test your blood glucose (sugar). Take all medicines as prescribed.
- Eat regular meals that contain a variety of healthy, lowfat, high-fiber foods including fruits and vegetables each day.
- Get physical activity each day.
- Stop smoking.
- Follow your foot care plan.
- Keep your doctor’s visits and have your feet, eyes, and kidneys checked at least once a year.
- Visit your dentist twice a year.
Check Your Feet Every Day
You may have serious foot problems, but feel no pain. Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling and infected toenails. Make checking your feet a part of your everyday routine. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a hand mirror to help. You can also ask a family member or caregiver to help you.
If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a plastic mirror to help.
You also can ask a family member or caregiver to help you.
Wash Your Feet Every Day
Wash your feet in warm water. Do not soak your feet because the skin will get dry.
Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot.
You can use a thermometer (90° to 95° F is safe) or your elbow.
Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between your toes.
Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin between your toes dry.
Keep The Skin Soft And Smooth
Smooth Corns And Calluses Gently
If you have corns and calluses, check with your doctor or foot care specialist about the best way to care for them.
If your doctor tells you to use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses after bathing or showering.
A pumice stone is a type of rock used to smooth skin. rub gently, only in one direction, to avoid tearing the skin.
Do not cut corns and calluses. Don’t use razor blades, corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers as they can damage your skin.
Trim Your Toenails Each Week Or When Needed
Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry your feet.
Trim toenails straight across and smooth them with an emery board or nails file.
Don’t cut into the corners of the toenail. If you can’t see well, if your toenails are thick or yellowed,
or if your nails curve and grow into the skin have a foot care doctor trim them.
Wear Shoes And Socks At All Times
Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot — not even indoors —
because it is easy to step on something and hurt your feet.
Always wear socks, stockings, or nylons with your shoes to help avoid blisters and sores.
Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well. Socks that have no seams are best.
Check the insides of your shoes before you put them on to be sure
the lining is smooth and that there are no objects in them.
Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
Protect Your Feet From Hot And Cold
Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement.
Put sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn.
Keep your feet away from radiators and open fires.
Do not put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
Wear socks at night if your feet get cold. Lined boots are good in winter to keep your feet warm.
Check your feet often in cold weather to avoid frostbite.
Keep The Blood Flowing To Your Feet
Put your feet up when you are sitting. Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes 2 or 3 times a day.
Move your ankles up and down and in and out to improve blood flow in your feet and legs.
Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time.
Don’t wear tight socks, elastic or rubber bands, or garters around your legs.
Don’t smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet. Ask for help to stop smoking.
Work with your health care team to control your AIC (blood glucose), blood pressure and cholesterol.
Be More Active
Ask your doctor to help you plan a daily activity program that is right for you.
Walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet.
Avoid activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping.
Always include a short warm-up and cool-down period.
Wear athletic shoes that fit well and that provide good support.
Be Sure To Ask Your Doctor To...
Check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet at least once a year.
Ask them to tell you if you are likely to have serious foot problems.
If you have serious foot problems, your feet should be checked at every visit to your doctor.
Ask them to show you how to care for your feet and don’t be afraid to
ask to be referred to a foot care doctor if needed and if they believe
special shoes will help your feet stay healthy.
Get Started Now
Begin taking good care of your feet today.
Set a time everyday to check your feet.
Note the date of your next visit tot he doctor.
Set a date for buying the things you need to take care of your feet:
nail clippers, pumice stone, emery board, skin lotion, talcum powder,
plastic mirror, socks, athletic shoes, and slippers.
Most important, stick with your foot care program…
and give yourself a special treat such as a new pair
of lightly padded socks with no seams. You deserve it!