Diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in the United States. While most people know that diabetes adversely affects the cardiovascular system, many may not be aware that the disease can also negatively impact your feet. Check out our Diabetic Foot Care page for details.
Included here in the Diabetic Handbook are a number of healthy actions you can take to reduce damage to your feet if you have diabetes. If you have any questions about these recommendations or would like suggestions on how to make these good habits a part of your life, contact New Orleans Podiatry Associates today.
Take these steps to keep your feet healthy:
- Inspect your feet daily for any breaks in the skin such as blisters, cuts, and scratches. Always check between the toes. Examine your feet at the beginning and end of every day.
- Wash and dry your feet daily. Do so carefully, and make sure to clean in between the toes. Rub your feet gently.
- Avoid temperature extremes in the bath and shower.
- Wear socks if your feet feel cold at night. Wearing socks is the preferred healthy alternative to using hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. It is also best to avoid soaking your feet in hot water.
- In cold weather, take special precautions. Wear woolen socks and protective footwear such as fleece-lined boots.
- Avoid walking barefoot on all outdoor and indoor surfaces, but especially on hot surfaces such as sandy beaches and cemented areas around swimming pools.
- Avoid putting adhesive tape on your feet.
- Only buy shoes that you find comfortable at the time of purchase instead of ones you expect to stretch out. It is best to buy shoes made of leather. And here's an interesting fact: Purchase shoes late in the afternoon when your feet are the largest. NOTE: If you have vascular disease, neuropathy, or foot deformities such as bunions or hammertoes, running or special walking shoes are recommended after checking with your physician. Purchase shoes only from a podiatrist or certified foot specialist who understands the diabetic foot.
- Inspect the insides of your shoes for foreign objects, nail points, torn linings, and rough areas.
- Always wear socks or stockings when wearing shoes. Stockings should fit properly. Avoid mended stockings or those with seams, and make sure your change them daily.
- Avoid wearing garters.
- Avoid sandals with thongs between the toes.
- For dry feet, use a very thick coat of lubricating oil or cream, such as Lac-hydrin or another lanolin-containing product. Apply this after bathing and drying your feet. Do not put the oil or cream between the toes. Consult your physician for detailed instructions. Stay away from products which have alcohol, as they will dry your skin.
- Cut your nails only after you've received clearance from your doctor and/or podiatrist that it is safe to do so. Cut the nails straight across and do not dig down the sides.
- Avoid cutting corns and calluses. Avoid using a pumice stone or emery board to debride dry or callused areas of your foot.
- Avoid the use of chemical agents, corn plasters, or strong antiseptic solutions for the removal of corns or calluses.
- If your vision is impaired, have a family member inspect your feet daily.
- See your physician and your podiatrist regularly, and be sure that your feet are examined at each visit.
Notify your physician or podiatrist immediately should you develop a blister or sore on your feet. Time is of the essence when it relates to treating foot sores or ulcerations. Infections can develop quickly, putting your foot, leg, and general health in jeopardy.