A diabetic must pay close attention to foot care. Diabetes causes nerve damage and reduced circulation to the feet, often causing the feet to the first outward body causalities of diabetes. The simple, everyday way diabetics care for their feet can mean the difference between maintaining foot health throughout life or loosing a few digits via amputation.
A diabetic should inspect their feet everyday as part of a foot care routine. Use a mirror if needed to inspect the bottoms of your feet thoroughly. Look for bruises, a sore, cut or blister. Inspect your feet for a change in foot color, change in foot temperature, drainage or swelling. If you find any of these issues on your feet and it is not healed by the next day, call your doctor. These small foot problems can lead to bigger problems if you are a diabetic.
Always wear shoes, never go barefooted. Wear comfortable shoes that fit properly and will not rub your foot at point. Inspect shoes before putting them on to ensure there is no rough spots in the shoe lining and no objects in the shoes. Medicare does pay for special diabetic shoes under certain circumstances, talk with your doctor about it to see if you may qualify for Medicare shoe assistance.
Wash your feet everyday and dry them thoroughly. Don’t test bath water with your feet, the bath water might be too hot and cause a foot problem should your skin be scalded. Apply moisturizing lotion to the bottoms and tops of your feet after washing, but don’t apply lotion between the toes. The natural moisture and darkness between toes combined with lotion creates a breeding ground for bacteria.
Trim your toenails straight across and file the toenail edges smooth. Never try to remove a corn or callous yourself, not even with over-the-counter corn or callous removers, these products will damage the skin of a diabetic. If you are unable to trim your own toenails, or develop a corn or callous, see a podiatrist to do the foot care for you. Never use a razor blade, pumice stone or any other object that might injure the skin on your feet.
Keep the blood flowing to your feet with daily activity. Walk if possible and when sitting for a prolonged period of time stretch and rotate your feet and ankles to encourage circulation. Do mini leg lifts while sitting or any foot/ leg movements will help the blood circulation in the feet.
Have your doctor perform a complete foot exam at least once per year to detect early signs of foot problems.