Proper foot care is very important for every diabetic patient. Any foot problems can increase the risk of amputation. Unfortunately, diabetics are at an increased risk for foot problems due to the way that diabetes affects nerves and blood flow. In fact, the American Diabetes Association indicates that one in five diabetic patients who seek medical care cite foot problems as their complaint.
Here are some ways that you can care for your feet:
- Above all, your doctor needs to check your feet regularly for problems.
- Inspect your own feet daily. Check the tops and bottoms of your feet for things like redness, sores, cracked skin, cuts, blisters, tenderness, and ingrown toenails.
- Wash and dry your feet daily. Use a mild soap and warm water. Pat your skin dry and use lotion on your feet to prevent cracking—but avoid applying lotion to the spaces between your toes where it can become too moist.
- Cut your toenails regularly, straight across. Do not cut your cuticles. You might need to have your doctor help you cut your toenails properly.
- Avoid going barefoot, even around the house. Use hard-soled slippers to wear at home.
- Make sure your shoes are comfortable and fit properly. You can ask your doctor to help you choose footwear that fits properly. If you have nerve damage, you might not be able to tell if your shoes are too tight. Your doctor might also suggest special footwear for your condition.
- Avoid high heels, tight shoes, and sandals, which can increase your risk of foot mechanic problems and infections.
- Ease into new shoes gradually.
- Skip exercising completely if there are open sores on your feet.
- Wear cotton socks to allow your feet to breathe, and change your socks daily.
- Avoid crossing your legs to help blood flow to your legs and feet.
- Tell your doctor immediately about any type of foot injuries or other problems, including ingrown toenails, redness, bunions, sores, wounds, athlete’s foot, and any type of pain.
Your doctor might have other suggestions for how to care for your feet properly. Make sure you follow all of these recommendations for happy and healthy feet that are free from diabetes complications.