If you have diabetes, you likely know that blood sugar is not the only thing that you need to pay extra attention to. Since diabetes results in reduced blood flow to your feet, it can lead to numbness, which means you might not feel a blister or other problems. This can result in you losing your toe, foot, or even your entire leg.
Follow these steps for simple and effective diabetic foot care:
- Maintain your blood sugar levels. This is an obvious one, and it’s one you are probably already doing. But it’s important to remember to monitor your blood sugar closely and regularly.
- Check your feet daily. Pick one time per day to dedicate to checking your feet so that you don’t forget. It can be when you take off your shoes when coming home or after you get out of the shower. Check your feet for things like swelling, toenail problems, sores, cuts, and discolored spots. You can ask a loved one to help you check or use a mirror if it is hard to see your feet.
- Treat corns and calluses carefully. You shouldn’t use patches or liquid removers, because they can irritate your skin and lead to an infection for diabetics. Instead, talk to your doctor about safe treatment methods. You might be able to use a pumice stone gently.
- Keep your feet clean. Wash them with warm water (not hot water). Dry them thoroughly and gently. You can apply a thin coat of lotion on the tops and bottoms of your feet, and use cornstarch or baby powder between your toes to keep them dry.
- Trim your toenails regularly. Cut them straight across and ask your doctor for help if your nails are yellowed and thick, or if they grow into your skin.
- Keep your feet safe. With diabetes, you are at an increased risk of hurting your feet. Protect them by wearing clean, cotton socks and shoes that fit well. Avoid going barefoot.
- Maintain blood flow. Put your feet up while sitting, wiggle your toes throughout the day, and avoid crossing your legs. You can stay active with activities like walking and swimming. Just be sure to wear the proper athletic shoes for all physical activity.
Above all, make sure you visit your doctor for regular check-ups, including checks of your feet.