Take care of your feet if you are a diabetic

Take care of your feet if you are a diabetic

Foot care is not something you should take lightly when you are a diabetic.

If you or a loved one has diabetes, it’s important to learn how to avoid serious foot problems that can lead to a toe, foot, or leg amputation. Foot care is very important for each person with diabetes, but especially if you have:

1.Changes in the shape of your feet.
2.Foot ulcers or sores that do not heal.

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. You may not feel a blister caused by poorly fitting shoes. Foot injuries such as these can cause ulcers which may even lead to amputation.

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to prevent serious problems with your feet. Here's how:

Take care of your diabetes. Make healthy lifestyle choices to help keep your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure, and cholesterol close to normal. Work with your health care team to make a diabetes plan that fits your lifestyle. The team may include your doctor, a diabetes educator, a nurse, a dietitian, a foot care doctor (podiatrist) and other specialists.

Check your feet every day. You may have serious foot problems, yet feel no pain. Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails. Make checking your feet part of your everyday routine. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a mirror to help. You also can ask a family member or caregiver to help you. Make sure to call your doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after one day.

Wash your feet every day. Use warm, not hot, water. Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You can use a thermometer (90° to 95° is safe) or your elbow. Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between your toes. Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin between your toes dry.

Keep the skin soft and smooth. 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.

Smooth corns and calluses gently. Do not cut them. Don't use razor blades, corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers—they can damage your skin. If you have corns and calluses, check with your doctor or foot care specialist about the best way to treat for them.

Trim your toenails each week or when needed. 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 foot care doctor trim them.

Select the proper footwear. Wearing the right shoes is very important for preventing serious foot problems. Athletic or walking shoes are good for daily wear. They support your feet and allow them to "breathe." Never wear vinyl or plastic shoes, because they don't stretch or breathe. When buying shoes, make sure they are comfortable from the start and have enough room for your toes. Don't buy shoes with pointed toes or high heels; they put too much pressure on your toes.

Do not walk barefoot—not even indoors—because it is easy to step on something and hurt your feet. Along with shoes that fit well and protect your feet, always wear socks, stockings, or nylons with your shoes to help avoid blisters and sores. Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well. Socks that have no seams are best. Check the insides of your shoes before you put them on to be sure the lining is smooth and that there are no objects in them.

Ask your doctor about Medicare or other insurance coverage for special footwear. You may need special shoes or shoe inserts to prevent serious foot problems. If you have Medicare Part B insurance, you may be able to get some of the cost of special shoes or inserts paid for. If you qualify for Medicare or other insurance coverage, your doctor or podiatrist will tell you how to get your special shoes.

Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Put sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn. Keep your feet away from radiators and open fires. Do not put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet. Wear socks at night if your feet get cold. Lined boots are good in winter to keep your feet warm. Check your feet often in cold weather to avoid frostbite.

Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions for best circulation. He or she may suggest that you put your feet up when you are sitting. Wiggle your toes for five minutes, two or three times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to improve blood flow in your feet and legs. Don't cross your legs for long periods of time. Don't wear tight socks, elastic or rubber bands, or garters around your legs.

Be more active. Ask your doctor to help you plan a daily activity program that is right for you. Walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet. Wear athletic shoes that fit well and that provide good support. But avoid activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping.


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