Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet. Even a small cut can produce serious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage and lead to a loss of sensation in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. As a result, you could develop a blister, sore, or break in the skin. This could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound that could put you at risk for foot-related complications.
It is important that you inspect your feet every day and seek care early if you do get a foot injury. Make sure you have a podiatrist to check your feet at least once a year and more often if you have foot problems. You should be seen if your foot changes color, shape, or just feels different, such as a decrease in sensation or increase in pain. Schedule a podiatric evaluation today for a comprehensive diabetic foot screening.
Some general guidelines for those with diabetes include the following:
Inspect your feet daily: Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet.
Bathe feet in lukewarm, never hot, water: Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use only lukewarm water.
Be gentle when bathing your feet: Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and carefully dry between the toes.
Moisturize your feet but not between your toes: Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking. But do not moisturize between the toes as this could encourage a fungal infection.
Cut nails carefully: Cut them straight across and file the edges. Do not cut nails too short as this could lead to ingrown toenails. If your nails are thickened or if you have difficult cutting them, call to schedule an appointment.
Never treat corns or calluses yourself: No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Schedule an appointment for appropriate treatment.
Wear clean, dry socks: Change them daily.
Consider socks made specifically for patients living with diabetes: These socks have extra cushioning, do not have elastic tops, are higher than the ankle and are made from fibers that wick moisture away from the skin.
Wear socks to bed: If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use a heating pad or a hot water bottle.
Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing: Your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.
Keep your feet warm and dry: Do not let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
Consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet: This is helpful if you have excessive sweating of the feet.
Never walk barefoot: Not even at home. Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut that can lead to a wound or ulcer. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside. You may benefit from custom molded shoe gear from your podiatrist.
Take care of your diabetes: Keep your blood sugar levels under control. Make sure you are under the supervision of your primary care doctor.
Do not smoke: Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.
Get periodic foot exams: Seeing your podiatrist on a regular basis can help prevent the foot complications of diabetes. Call to schedule an appointment today.