Diabetic Foot Care Tips

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People who have diabetes are vulnerable to nerve and vascular damage that can result in loss of protective sensation in the feet, poor circulation, and poor healing of foot ulcers. All of these conditions contribute to the high amputation rate in people with diabetes. The absence of nerve and vascular symptoms, however, does not mean that your feet are not at risk. Risk of ulceration cannot be assessed without careful examination of your bare feet.

Early identification of foot problems and early intervention to prevent problems from worsening can avert many amputations. Good foot care, therefore, is an essential part of diabetes management - for patients as well as for health care providers.

  1. Take care of your diabetes.
    • Work with your health care team to keep your blood sugar within a good range.
  2. Check your feet every day.
    • Look at your bare feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling.
    • Use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet or ask a family member for help if you have trouble seeing.
  3. Wash your feet every day.
    • Wash your feet in warm, not hot, water every day.
    • Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between the toes.
  4. Keep the skin soft and smooth.
    • Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.
  5. Smooth corns and calluses gently.
    • If your feet are at low risk for problems, use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses. Don't use over-the-counter products or sharp objects on corns or calluses.
  6. 6. If you can see and reach your toenails, trim them each week or when needed.
    • Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.
  7. Wear shoes and socks at all times.
    • Never walk bare foot.
    • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
    • Feel inside your shoes before putting them on each time to make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
  8. Protect you feet from hot and cold.
    • Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement.
    • Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
    • Don't test bath water with your feet.
    • Don't use hot water bottles or heating pads.
  9. Keep the blood flowing to your feet.
    • Put your feet up when sitting.
    • Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day.
    • Don't cross your legs for long periods of time.
    • Don't smoke.
  10. Be more active.
    • Plan your physical activity program with your doctor.
  11. Check with your doctor.
    • Have your doctor check your bare feet and find out whether you are likely to have serious foot problems. Remember that you may not feel the pain of an injury.
    • Call your doctor right away if you find a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot that does not begin to heal after one day.
    • Follow your doctor's advice about foot care.
  12. Get started now.
    • Begin taking good care of your feet today.

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