When you have diabetes, chances are you pay more attention to your feet than you otherwise would.
Diabetes can lower the amount of blood reaching your feet, leading to a number of problems, including the ultimate loss of a toe, foot or leg.
Diabetic foot care is too important to ignore. to help you take better care of your feet, here are 10 foot-care tips, courtesy of the National Diabetes Education Program:
1. Check your feet each day
When you take off your shoes each evening, look for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling and infected toenails. It’s possible to have a foot problem without feeling pain. If you have trouble bending, use a mirror or ask a family member for help.
Use warm water, and don’t soak, because that causes your skin to become dry. The water shouldn’t be too hot, so test it with a thermometer (90 to 95 degrees is ok). Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin between your toes dry.
3. Keep the skin smooth and soft
A thin coat of cream, lotion or petroleum jelly on the top and bottom of each foot should do the job. Do not put these substances between your toes, as this could lead to an infection.
4. Be gentle on corns and calluses
Consult your podiatrist on the best way to care for corns or calluses. If the doctor instructs you to do so, use a pumice stone to smooth the corns/calluses after bathing. Rub gently in only one direction. Never cut corns or calluses. Using razor blades, corn plasters or liquid removers can damage your skin and cause an infection.
After you’ve washed and dried your feet, trim your toenails, cutting straight across and using an emery board or nail file to smooth the corners. This keeps the nails from growing into the skin. Do not cut into the corners of the nail.
Have a doctor cut your nails if you can’t see/feel your feet, you can’t reach them, your nails are thick or yellowed, or have begun to curve and grow into your skin.
6. Don’t go barefoot
Wear shoes and socks at all times to avoid stepping on something that could hurt your feet. This is especially important if you can’t feel your feet. Be sure to wear socks, stockings or nylons with your shoes to keep from developing blisters or sores.
Your shoes should fit well and protect your feet. Your socks should be clean, lightly padded and also fit well. Seamless socks work the best. Lastly, check your shoes before putting them on to be sure there are no objects inside them and that the lining is smooth.
7. Guard against hot and cold
This means wearing shoes at the beach, and wearing sunscreen on the tops of your feet to avoid sunburn. Keep your feet away from heaters, open fires, hot water bottles and heating pads. If they get cold, wear socks at night, and use lined boots during the winter to stay warm.
8. Keep blood flowing
Whenever you sit, keep your feet up, and try not to cross your legs for long periods. Wiggle your toes for five minutes, two or three times a day. Move your ankles up and down to help blood flow in your legs and feet. Don’t wear tight socks or anything that will cut circulation to your legs. And don’t smoke. Smoking can reduce the blood flow to your legs.
Ask your health care provider for ways to be more active, whether that means activities like walking, swimming, dancing, or riding a bike. If you aren’t active, start slowly. And be sure the wear shoes designed for the type of exercise you’ve chosen.
10. Check in with your doctor
Your health care team can do a number of things for you. They should check your feet with every visit, and check your pulse/feeling in your feet at least once each year. They can also advise you on proper footwear, and refer you to a foot doctor if necessary. And finally, they can work with you to manage your diabetes, and help you set goals for handling your diet and managing your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.
As many of these tips have suggested, having the right shoes and socks is an important part of proper foot care for people living with diabetes.
If you’re looking for a sock that will take care of your feet, Creative Care can help. We’ve been making the highest-quality diabetic socks for more than 30 years. They’re made to stay in place without constricting your legs, and built to last as long as regular retail socks.
We’ve designed our socks to give you fewer things to worry about as you try to manage your illness.