Foot care with diabetes
Reasons to care for your feet
Diabetes puts you at higher risk for foot problems in two ways
- Damage to the nerves. You may feel pain, numbness or loss of feeling, and stinging.
- Damage to blood vessels in the legs. A small wound on the foot that is not taken care of can lead to a bad infection. That infection might lead to amputation.
How to care for your feet
Do the following
- Check your feet each day.
- Use a mirror to help you look for ingrown toe nails, redness, drainage, and swelling.
- Wash your feet each day in warm water and dry them well (especially between the toes).
- Test the water temperature with your hand or elbow before putting your feet in the water.
- Keep your toenails trimmed.
- Trim nails straight across and file the edges.
- Put lotion on dry feet.
- Do not put the lotion between your toes.
- Take off your shoes and socks each time you see your doctor.
- Always check inside of your shoes before you put them on to make sure nothing is in them that could hurt your feet.
- Have a foot exam every year.
Things you should avoid:
- Do not go barefoot.
- Do not soak your feet.
- Do not wear shoes that do not fit or socks that are tight.
- Do not try to fix foot problems at home.
- Do not use a razor blade.
- Do not use heating pads or put a hot water bottle on your feet.
- Do not cross your legs for long amounts of time.
- This lowers blood flow to your feet.
What to wear on your feet
For your socks:
- Choose socks that are seamless or have soft, flat seams.
- Wear clean, cotton socks that will absorb sweat.
- Choose light colored socks to help show blood or fluid draining from an unseen wound.
- Do not use socks with tight bands on top.
For your shoes:
- Have your feet sized each time you buy new shoes.
- Shop for shoes later in the day, when your feet may be swollen, to make a better fit
- Choose shoes that have enough room inside so your toes do not curl or rub against your shoe.
- Buy shoes with a low heel. This will put less stress on your feet.
- Break in shoes slowly.
- Choose slippers with sturdy toes.
Be aware of these signs of decreased blood flow in your feet
- Leg pain when walking or doing activity that goes away with rest
- Shiny skin on lower legs
- Legs that are dark purple when hanging
- Lack of hair growth on your legs
Call your doctor if you have any of the following
- Nerve damage to your feet (diabetic neuropathy) and you need your toenails cut and calluses removed
- Ingrown toenails
- Open sores (with or without drainage), rash, or blisters on your feet.