Wash And Dry Your Feet Daily
Keep your feet clean. But donât soak them for a long time. This can dry your skin.
Use mild soaps and warm water.
Pat your skin dry do not rub. Thoroughly dry your feet.
After washing, put lotion or petroleum jelly on them to prevent cracking. But not between your toes — this can lead to an infection! Sprinkle on a nonmedicated powder before putting on your socks and shoes to help keep your feet dry.
In winter, cold weather and central heating can dry out your skin. Take extra care to moisturize your feet and keep them warm. Wear socks to bed if your feet get cold.
Cuts Bumps Sores And Burns
Don’t wait to treat a minor foot problem if you have diabetes. Report foot injuries and infections right away. Follow your doctor’s guidelines and first aid guidelines.
Don’t self-treat your corns, calluses, or other foot problems. Go to your doctor or podiatrist to treat these conditions.
Check water temperature with your elbow or a thermometer, not your foot, to make sure itâs not hot . Don’t wash your feet in hot water, which could cause burns.
Don’t use a heating pad, water bottles, or electric blankets on your feet, because they could cause burns.
Don’t cross your legs or stand in one position for a long time. This can block blood flow to your feet.
Wash Your Feet Every Day
Wash your feet with soap in warm, not hot, water. Test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You can use a thermometer or your elbow to test the warmth of the water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get too dry.
After washing and drying your feet, put talcum powder or cornstarch between your toes. Skin between the toes tends to stay moist. Powder will keep the skin dry to help prevent an infection.
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Could You Have Nerve Damage
Anyone with diabetes can develop nerve damage, but these factors increase your risk:
- Blood sugar levels that are hard to manage
- Having diabetes for a long time, especially if your blood sugar is often higher than your target levels
- Being overweight
- Having high cholesterol
Nerve damage, along with poor blood flowanother diabetes complicationputs you at risk for developing a foot ulcer that could get infected and not heal well. If an infection doesnt get better with treatment, your toe, foot, or part of your leg may need to be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading and to save your life.
When you check your feet every day, you can catch problems early and get them treated right away. Early treatment greatly reduces your risk of amputation.
Check Your Feet Every Day
Look carefully at the tops and bottoms of your feet. Use a mirror or have someone else do it if you can’t see them.
- Set a specific time each day to do this check.
- Use good light so you can spot any problems.
- Check for dry, cracked skin on your feet, toes, and heels.
- Look at your feet, toes, and heels for blisters, cuts, scratches, bruises, scrapes, or other sores.
- Check between your toes for cuts or fungus that might cause athleteâs foot.
- Check for redness, increased warmth, or tenderness when you touch an area.
- Watch for ingrown toenails, corns, and .
If you get a blister or sore from your shoes, don’t “pop” it. Put a bandage over it, and wear a different pair of shoes.
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Diabetes And Foot Problems
Foot problems are common in people with diabetes. You might be afraid youll lose a toe, foot, or leg to diabetes, or know someone who has, but you can lower your chances of having diabetes-related foot problems by taking care of your feet every day. Managing your blood glucose levels, also called blood sugar, can also help keep your feet healthy.
Why Taking Care Of Your Feet Is Important For People With Diabetes
Most people with diabetes understand that proper nutrition is a major component of staying healthy, but did you know that taking care of your feet can also help you avoid complications down the road?
Around 34 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes. 1 in 4 people with diabetes will experience a foot ulcer. 40% of people with a healed diabetic foot ulcer will develop a new ulcer within a year. 15% of diabetic foot ulcers progress to amputation.* The best way to not become a statistic is prevention and with early intervention, complications can be avoided, says Charles Marchese, M.D., a podiatrist at the Wound Center at Bayshore Medical Center.
It is important that you schedule one to two visits with your podiatrist every year and discuss nutrition and foot care options that can increase wound healing. A few minutes spent focusing on proper nutrition and foot maintenance can go a long way as you try to recover.
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Keep Your Feet Dry To Reduce The Risk Of Infection
Make sure that drying your feet is part of your hygiene routine. The space between the toes is very airtight, says Tillett. Skin gets moist and breaks down, leading to infection. Prevent this by toweling off thoroughly after washing your feet and by removing wet or sweaty socks or shoes immediately. As mentioned previously, you can still use moisturizer to prevent dry, cracked skin just avoid putting it between your toes.
Keep The Blood Flowing
Because blood circulation can be a problem for people with diabetes, try to keep your feet moving throughout the day. Wiggle your toes when youre sitting, and move your feet from side to side to keep the blood flowing. Try not to sit for too long a time at a time, but if you do, put your feet up on a stool if possible. If you can, go for a walk at least once a day.
And please dont smoke, because it adversely affects circulation, including in your feet.
Come in to see us for foot preventive check-ups on a regular basis. Dr. Hunter will let you know how often you need to be seen. Call the office or use the online booking tool to make an appointment.
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Foot Care Tips If You Have Diabetes
- You should have your feet checked as part of your annual diabetes review. You may be eligible for an NHS podiatrist if you have diabetes and symptoms affecting your feet such as numbness. Ask your GP for a referral or find a local podiatrist.
- Keep your feet clean and free from infection.
- Wear shoes that fit well and don’t squeeze or rub. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns and calluses, ulcers and nail problems.
- Never walk barefoot, especially in the garden or on the beach on holidays, to avoid cuts and try to avoid sitting with your legs crossed so you don’t constrict your blood circulation.
- Cut or file your toenails regularly.
- Get corns or hard skin treated by a podiatrist.
When Should I See My Health Care Provider About Foot Problems
- a cut, blister, or bruise on your foot that does not start to heal after a few days
- skin on your foot that becomes red, warm, or painfulsigns of a possible infection
- a callus with dried blood inside of it,which often can be the first sign of a wound under the callus
- a foot infection that becomes black and smellysigns you might have gangrene
Ask your provider to refer you to a foot doctor, or podiatrist, if needed.
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Take Care Of Your Toenails
Cut toenails after bathing, when they are soft. Trim them straight across, then smooth with a nail file. Avoid cutting into the corners of toes. Don’t let the corners of your toenails grow into the skin. This could lead to an ingrown toenail.
You may want a nail technician or podiatrist to do it for you. If you get pedicures at a nail salon, bring your own nail tools.
Don’t cut cuticles. Donât use anything sharp to clean under your toenails or to remove calluses. You donât want to accidentally get a cut that could let an infection set in. You can use a pumice stone to gently smooth your heels after taking a shower or bath. Don’t rub too harshly.
Tips For Diabetes Foot Care
When you have diabetes, its important to take good care of your feet, as youre more vulnerable to foot problems because diabetes can damage your nerves and reduce blood flow to your feet. To ensure the best foot health, Certified Diabetes Foot Specialist and Medtronic Diabetes Clinical Manager, Tasha Kennon, RN, BS, CDE, shares 15 diabetes foot care tips to follow for lasting healthy, happy feet.
Its approaching that time of the year to pull out the swim suits and flip flops, and many of you will be preparing to be poolside or at the beach. But before putting those toes in the sand, stop to think about foot safety with diabetes first.
As a person with diabetes, you may be at greater risk of injury and infection to your feet, due to nerve damage and reduced blood flow. The American Diabetes Association estimates that one in five people with diabetes seek hospital care for foot problems and injuries. With these increased risks, small injuries can turn into even larger complications. For example, you can develop a sore or a blister that could possibly lead to an infection, and be at increased risk of losing a toe, your foot or even your leg.
Here are some helpful diabetes foot care tips to keep those feet and toes healthy during warmer weather and year round:
Make checking your feet part of your daily routine. Setting aside a small amount of time each day to properly check out your feet is a must.
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Don’t Go Barefoot Whether You’re Inside Or Outside
Wearing shoes with good coverage outside to protect your feet makes sense to most people, but even inside your house, puttering around without shoes puts your feet at risk for small cuts, scrapes, and penetration by splinters, glass shards, and the misplaced sewing needle or thumbtack. If you have neuropathy, you might not notice these dangerous damages until they become infected. Its best to wear shoes at all times, even in the house.
Ways To Keep Your Feet Healthy When You Have Diabetes
If you have diabetes, you must take good care of your feet. Thats because diabetes can cause nerve damage where you lose feeling in your feet. Without the sensation of pain, you may not notice a blister or small cut that could become infected. Plus, diabetes can reduce the blood flow to your feet, making it harder for sores or infections to heal.
People with diabetes are at risk of non-healing wounds, infections, fractures and amputations at a much higher rate than nondiabetics, said Brett Roeder, DPM, a podiatrist at Banner Health Clinic in Gilbert, AZ.
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Trim The Toenails Carefully
Always trim the nails on your toes straight across. You cannot afford to get an ingrown nail with diabetes.
If your toenails are thickened or you are visually impaired, have your podiatrist trim your toenails. Never go to a nail salon, because they often have issues with sterility and cleanliness and many infections have been started and spread by nail salons.
How Does Diabetes Affect Your Feet And Legs
If you’re managing diabetes, you may encounter problems with your feet and legs, two common complications of the disease. Diabetes puts you at higher risk for calluses, corns, bunions, blisters, and ulcers and high blood sugar means these minor injuries and alterations may become gateways to potentially disabling infections.
But you can take several steps to help keep your feet in good shape, including wearing specialized footwear, having regular foot exams, and performing low-impact exercise.
Why does this complication occur in the first place? First, know that high blood sugar levels damage nerves. Researchers arent exactly sure how this damage happens, but they think that blood sugar may have a negative effect on the nervous systems cells and enzymes, according to the Joslin Diabetes Center. These damaged nerves may lead to diabetic neuropathy, a condition in which you lose feeling in your feet or your hands.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, neuropathy occurs in about 70 percent of people with diabetes, and its symptoms can result in harmful infections. After all, if you can’t feel your feet, you won’t be able to notice cuts, sores, or pain. And if you cant feel these irritations and wounds, they may lead to infection, and untreated infections can lead to gangrene, which in turn can require amputation.
Additional reporting by Carlene Bauer
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Protect Your Feet With Shoes And Socks
Never go barefoot or only in socks. You donât want to step on rocks, tacks, or small pieces of glass that could cut your feet. Always protect your feet with shoes, hard-soled slippers, or similar footwear. Wear shoes/boots that will protect your feet from weather conditions like cold and moisture. Wear slippers at home.
Don’t wear shoes with high heels and pointed toes. Avoid shoes that leave your toes or heels unprotected, like open-toed shoes, flip-flops, or sandals. They leave you vulnerable for injury and infections.
Change your socks daily. Wear natural-fibers: cotton, wool, or a cotton-wool blend. Donât use socks with seams that might rub against your skin and cause blisters. Avoid tight socks.
Try on new footwear with the type of socks you usually wear. Don’t wear new shoes for more than an hour at a time.
Look and feel inside your shoes before putting them on to make sure there’s nothing irritating in them or rough areas.
Wear special shoes if your doctor recommends them. Replace your shoes when they show signs of wear, such as heels that are worn down on one side or lining that is torn.
How To Avoid Injury To Feet With Damaged Nerves
- Wear appropriate shoes to protect your feet.
- Avoid injury by wearing well-fitting, protective shoes do not wear open-toed shoes.
- Keep toenails trimmed. Cut toenails along the shape of the toe and file rough edges.
- Have corns or calluses treated by a podiatrist.
- Check the temperature of your bath water with your elbow before stepping into the bath.
- Be careful not to put your feet too close to radiant heaters.
- Every six months, check for signs and symptoms that may indicate you have a problem. These may include reduced circulation or sensations, abnormal foot structure or poor hygiene.
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When To See A Doctor
Seek treatment from your GP or podiatrist if blisters or injuries don’t heal quickly.
You should see your doctor urgently if:
- you notice breaks in the skin of your foot, or discharge seeping from the wound
- the skin over part or all of the foot changes colour and becomes more red, blue, pale or dark
- you notice extra swelling in your feet where there was a blister or injury
- there is redness or swelling around an ulcer or in an area where you have previously been warned to seek immediate attention
Diabetes UK has more information on how to look after your feet.
Page last reviewed: 26 September 2018 Next review due: 26 September 2021
Support Your Feet With Diabetes
Shoe shopping for people with diabetes requires a little more attention to detail than you may be used to. Tillett advises looking for shoes with more depth in the toe box, good coverage of both top and bottom, and without seams inside the shoe that can rub on your foot. Likewise, seek socks without seams, preferably socks that are padded and made from cotton or another material that controls moisture.
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What To Do If You Notice A Foot Problem
If you notice any of the above problems, you should seek medical advice straight away. However, in the meantime, you should take the weight off your foot.
Contact your GP or your foot protection team immediately, and if they arent available, then go to your nearest out-of-hours healthcare service.
A small complaint with your foot can become serious very quickly if left untreated. For some people, a serious foot problem can escalate to needing an amputation very quickly, so you must not delay in seeking medical help.
Im Sharing A James Story With You Today To Demonstrate How Important It Is To Take Care Of Your Feet When You Have Diabetes
A James story is something that happened when I was married to my first husband, James, who had diabetes. He made some catastrophic mistakes in managing his diabetes because he simply didnt know what to do. . Since working with people with diabetes for over twenty years, Ive met many others who have made similar errors. I dont want you to go down that path.
James and I were away for a beach weekend in North Carolina. The sand there can get scorching hot. Around noon, we decided to walk to the car to get lunch. When we got to the parking lot I glanced down and saw James was barefoot. It looked like a bread bag was stuck to the bottom of his feet. Looking closer I saw his feet had burned and blistered and broken open. It was actually the bottom of his feet that was now looking like a bread bag around his feet. I cried at the horror of it.
James didnt feel a thing. He had no feeling below his knees due to neuropathy, nerve damage, caused by unmanaged diabetes. He knew to wear shoes to protect his feet but for that five minute walk he let his guard down and failed to wear shoes.
Before leaving the hospital I had to learn how to clean, treat, and wrap his wounds. The nurse did one foot and I did the other. As I worked, I had tears streaming down my face. It looked like it would hurt so badly . I continued this 3 times a day, an hour each time, for months. Eventually, his feet did heal, but it was an ordeal that was awful and preventable. .
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