Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet-even a small cut could have serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that takes away the feeling in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. Because of these problems, you might not notice a pebble in your shoe-so you could develop a blister, then a sore, then a stubborn infection that might cause amputation of your foot or leg. To avoid serious foot problems that could result in losing a toe, foot, or leg, be sure to follow these guidelines.
Inspect your feet daily. Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything. (If your eyesight is poor, have someone else do it for you.) • Examine your feet – tops, bottoms, sides, and between the toes. Use a non-breakable mirror if necessary to look at the bottom of your feet.
- Look for any cuts, scrapes, or cracks in the skin where an infection may begin.
- Feel the temperature of your feet: unusual coolness can signal changes in circulation; heat may indicate an infection.
- Look at the color of your feet: blanching may be a clue that circulation is poor; redness may indicate infection.
Wash your feet in lukewarm (not hot!) water. Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. But only use lukewarm water-the temperature you’d use on a newborn baby.
- Be gentle when bathing your feet: Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge.
- Dry by blotting or patting and make sure to carefully dry between the toes.
Moisturize your feet-but not between your toes. Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But avoid moisturize between the toes-this could encourage a fungal infection.
Cut nails carefully-and straight across. Also, file the edges. avoid cutting them too short, since this could lead to ingrown toenails. Ask your health care provider to show you how to trim your toenails.
- Soak your feet in lukewarm water to soften the nail before trimming.
- Cut the nail straight across, because curved nails are more likely to become ingrown.
- Your foot doctor (podiatrist) can trim or recommend someone to trim your nails if you are unable to.
Never trim corns or calluses. No “bathroom surgery” let your doctor do the job.
Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t get your feet wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
- Wear clean, dry socks.
- Change them daily.
Avoid the wrong type of socks. Avoid tight elastic bands (they reduce circulation). Never wear thick or bulky socks (they can fit poorly and irritate the skin).
Wear socks to bed. If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. NEVER use a heating pad or hot water bottle as you may burn your feet without realizing it.
Shake out your shoes and inspect the inside before wearing. Remember, you may not feel a pebble so always shake out your shoes before putting them on.
Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Never smoke. Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.
Get periodic foot exams. See your foot and ankle surgeon on a regular basis for an examination to help prevent the foot complications of diabetes.
Reduce Pressure: Keeping pressure off feet ulcers can promote healing. Sometimes, special boots or casts are placed on the feet to reduce pressure on the ulcer.
Exercise Regularly: Exercise improves circulation as well as overall health. Walking, swimming or bicycling may be good ones to try, while minimizing stress to your feet. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program. For patients with neuropathy walking for exercise may not be advisable. Check with your doctor.