Foot care is very important for each person with diabetes, but especially if you have:
Nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. You may not feel a pebble inside your sock that is causing a sore, or a blister caused by poorly fitting shoes. Foot injuries like these can cause ulcers which may lead to amputation.
Keeping your blood sugar under control and taking care of your feet every day can help avoid serious foot problems.
Make healthy lifestyle choices to help keep your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol close to normal. This may help prevent or delay diabetes-related foot problems, and eye and kidney disease.
Work with your doctor to make a diabetes plan that fits your lifestyle. You should take your medicines as prescribed and know when to get check-ups, and how and when to test your blood glucose.
Eat regular meals containing a variety of low-fat, high-fibre foods including fruits and vegetables each day. You should also:
You may have serious foot problems, but feel no pain. Look for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling or infected toenails. Find a time (evening is best) to check your feet each day. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a mirror to help.
Wash your feet in warm, not hot, water. However, do not soak your feet, as this will cause your skin to get dry. Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You can use a thermometer (90°F-95°F is safe) or your elbow.
Dry your feet well, taking care to dry between your toes. Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin between your toes dry.
Rub a thin coat of skin lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet.
Do not put lotion or cream between your toes, because this might cause an infection.
If you have corns and calluses, check with your doctor or chiropodist about the best way to care for them. Your doctor may tell you to use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses after bathing or showering. Pumice stone is a type of rock used to smooth the skin. Rub gently, in one direction only, to avoid tearing the skin.
Do not cut corns and calluses. Don't use razor blades, corn plasters or liquid corn and callus removers - they can damage your skin.
Cut your toenails each week or when needed. Wash and dry your feet first. Trim toenails straight across and smooth them with an emery board or nail file. Don't cut into the corners of the toenail.
If you can't see well, if your toenails are thick or yellowed, or if your nails curve and grow into the skin, have a chiropodist trim them.
Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot - not even indoors - because it is easy to step on something and hurt your feet. Always wear socks, stockings or nylons with your shoes to help avoid blisters and sores. Socks that have no seams are best. Specially designed socks for people with diabetes are ideal. The Federation recently endorsed new Irish-made Legend Care PFC socks.
Check inside your shoes for objects and creased lining before you put them on.
Always wear shoes at the beach or on hot ground and put sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn. Keep feet away from radiators and open fires and don't put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet. Check your feet often in cold weather to avoid frostbite.
Put your feet up when you are sitting. Wiggle your toes for five minutes, twice or three times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to improve blood flow. And remember:
Be more active
Ask for your doctor's help
Issue September 03
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