If you have diabetes, you already know your feet require special care. Nerve damage and poor circulation can make it harder for you to feel a foot injury, and healing of blisters, cuts, or other wounds may be compromised. Even a small cut that’s left unattended can cause big problems for you.
We see a lot of patients with diabetes, and we regularly advise them on the care of their feet. The long-term benefit of keeping tabs on your feet is better foot health which can help you stay more mobile for years to come.
Below, Dr. Forman shares five of his best tips for diabetic foot care.
1. Take a look at your feet daily
Examine the entire surface of your feet every morning or maybe before going to bed at night. If you have trouble getting down to look closely, then ask a caregiver or family member. to take a peek for you. Look for scratches, blisters, or other red spots, and check for swelling. Use a mirror to do a good inspection of the soles of your feet.
2. Wash your feet every day
We know most people do wash their feet every day, but you should pay particular attention if you have diabetes. Gently clean in between the toes and wash the soles with a cloth to get any dirt out from between the crevices. Use warm, soapy water, and don’t forget to rinse and then dry your feet thoroughly. Keeping your feet dry is important because of infection breeds quickly in a warm, moist environment.
3. Keep the skin soft and supple
People with diabetes often develop hard skin. That’s a problem because the skin can crack easily when you’re walking or if you bang your foot against furniture. A cut or fissure in the skin may not heal quickly and can lead to infection.
To keep the skin soft, rub a skin lotion into the tops and bottoms of your feet every day. If you can’t reach them, then get a caregiver or loved one to do the job. Pay special attention to your heels, which often get the most pounding and the skin hardens over time. Use a liberal amount of lotion on the heels and soles to soften the skin thoroughly. Avoid putting lotion between your toes though.
4. Always wear shoes and socks
Keeping your feet covered, even at home, helps keep them from accidental bumps and scrapes that could lead to infections or foot ulcers. Unless you’re in the shower or bath, wear shoes and socks at all times. If you’re lounging at home and want to wear slippers, find a pair that cover your whole foot, including the heel.
Invest in comfortable shoes that don’t rub your heels or toes. Each time you put your shoes on in the morning, shake them out or run your hand inside to check for little stones or other objects that might hurt your feet.
Avoid exposing your feet to extreme temperatures. Don’t go barefoot on a hot summer’s day, no matter how tempting it is. And be careful in rain or snow to make sure your feet stay warm and dry inside shoes or boots — with socks.
5. 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 you’re 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 don’t 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. Forman will let you know how often you need to be seen. Call the office or use the online booking tool to make an appointment.