If you have diabetes, it’s important that you take care of your feet. People with diabetes are more vulnerable to having foot problems. Diabetes can lower blood flow to your feet. Also it can damage your nerves, causing pain or a loss of feeling. Poor foot care for diabetics can lead to sores, cuts or ulcers on your feet, which, in turn, may result in the loss of a toe, foot or leg.
One in five people with diabetes are hospitalized for foot problems per the American Diabetes Association. But when you take care of your feet, you reduce your chances of having serious foot problems.
Here are some tips on foot care for diabetics that you should follow:
- Examine your bare feet every day, including the tops and bottoms and in between the toes. If you can’t see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone to help you inspect your feet. Look for scratches, cuts, blisters and sores. Check for signs of infection such as swollen, tender, warm and red areas – with or without pus present. Don’t pop any blisters. Instead apply a bandage. Call your doctor immediately if you have a cut, blister or sore on your foot that doesn’t heal after a few days.
- Check your feet for ingrown toenails, corns and calluses. Don’t treat these foot problems yourself. See your doctor for treatment.
- Check your feet for dry cracked skin. After washing your feet, apply a thin coat of lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet. Don’t apply lotion between your toes.
- Wash your feet every day with a mild soap and warm water. Don’t use hot water. Thoroughly dry your feet by patting the skin; don’t rub.
Trim your toenails as needed. Cut your toenails after bathing when they’re soft. Cut them straight across and file the edges with a nail file. Don’t cut your cuticles. If you suffer from peripheral neuropathy or other foot problems, you may want to have your doctor cut your toenails for you.
- Don’t let your feet get too hot or cold. Wear shoes or boots to protect your feet from various weather conditions. Wear shoes on hot pavement or at the beach. Don’t go barefoot. Don’t use hot water bottles, heating pads or electric blankets on your feet. You may burn your feet without realizing it – especially if you have peripheral neuropathy.
- Wear shoes and sock all the time. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Don’t wear open-toed shoes or sandals. Don’t wear high heels or pointed-toe shoes. Check the insides of your shoes before wearing them to make sure the lining is smooth, so nothing will rub against your feet. Change your socks daily. Wear natural-fiber socks like cotton, wool or a cotton-wool blend. Don’t wear tight socks.
- Make sure your shoes fit properly. If you have peripheral neuropathy, you may not realize your shoes are too tight. For more information on how to fit your shoes correctly, refer to the WalkEZStore’s Shoe Fitting Guide.
- Ensure good blood flow to your feet. Don’t cross your legs. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down at least 2 to 3 times a day.
If you have any questions about your feet or foot care for diabetics, ask your doctor. Always have your doctor examine your feet at every office visit. And see your doctor for any foot problems.
With proper management of your diabetes and care of your feet, you can help prevent serious foot complications that may lead to amputations.
Protect Your Feet from Diabetes Complications
Along with regular foot care and proper footwear, custom orthotics, like ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics, can help reduce your risk of developing harmful foot problems. ezWalker® Custom Orthotics help guide your feet into a more desirable biomechanical position while reducing unwanted pressure on the bottoms of your feet. By redistributing your weight evenly across your feet, ezWalker® Custom Orthotics can reduce your risk of developing foot ulcers and relieve foot pain.
Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Note: If you already have diabetes and are suffering from neuropathy or poor circulation, ask your doctor about wearing custom orthotics. In these cases, custom orthotics with accommodating support are recommended to reduce pressure and prevent excess friction on the foot that can lead to skin ulcers. However, if you already suffer from foot ulcers, it is recommended that your ulcers are healed first before wearing custom orthotics.
If you follow these suggestions and your condition does not improve, consult with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.