Get in step when it comes to keeping your feet healthy especially if you have diabetes. People with diabetes can develop foot problems of all kinds. These problems can happen when there is nerve damage. You may experience pain, tingling or weakness in the foot. If you lose the feeling in your foot, you might not realize you injured it. Also, poor blood flow or changes in the shape of your feet or toes can cause problems.
Follow these steps to stay a step ahead of unhealthy feet:
- Learn all you can about how diabetes can affect your feet.
- Inspect the tops and bottoms of your feet and in between toes daily for blisters, bleeding or lesions. Use a mirror to see the bottom of the foot and the heel. Have a family or friend check your feet if you’re unable to do so.
- Have regular foot examinations by your diabetic foot care specialist.
- Always remove both shoes and stockings when visiting your doctor.
- Always wear well-fitted stockings or socks with your shoes. Padded hosiery can reduce pressure and add more protection.
- Shake your shoes out, and inspect the insides before putting them on.
- Wear leather shoes with adequate room for the toes. Running or athletic shoes are best for recreational walking.
- Change shoes every four to six hours.
- If you have diabetes, limit the time you walk barefoot in the house, outside or at the beach. It’s even better not to go barefoot at all.
- Don’t use hot water bottles or heating pads to warm your feet. Use warm socks instead.
- Wash feet daily and be sure to dry well between the toes. Apply moisturizing cream in a thin coat allowing it to penetrate sufficiently before putting on socks and shoes. Rub in well. Avoid getting lotion between the toes. Use a hair dryer on low to dry between toes.
- Don’t soak your feet.
- Don’t treat corns with acids or chemicals.
- Don’t try to fix corns, calluses or ingrown toenails at home.
- Test the temperature of the bath water with your elbow or thermometer. Do NOT let hot water drip onto your toes.
- Call your foot care specialist immediately if you detect a lesion or if your foot becomes swollen, red or painful. Stay off your foot until you see your doctor.
- Maintain good diabetes control and do not smoke.
- Get your feet measured annually at a shoe store. From age 40 to the end of life, your foot can increase by one to two shoes sizes.
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