Foot Care Guidelines for Diabetics
Diabetes can cause nerve damage and reduce blood flow to your feet. This lengthens healing time for foot injuries. This also means your feet may not be as sensitive to sharp objects, rubbing in your shoes, or small cuts and scrapes. All of these things could potentially lead to infection and even amputation of your foot.
If you are diabetic, here are some tips for taking care of your feet:
- To avoid getting cuts and scrapes always wear something protective on your feet like slippers or shoes. Do not walk around barefoot.
- Closely examine your feet daily. Report any unusual findings to your doctor immediately.
- Wash your feet daily in lukewarm (not hot) water.
- Carefully dry your feet and toes completely using a soft cloth or sponge.
- Use a moisturizer on your feet (not your toes) to keep feet from cracking and developing sores.
- Use extreme caution when cutting your nails. Don’t cut them too short and use a file to smooth the edges.
- Avoid tight fitting socks (they reduce circulation) and don‘t wear thick or bulky socks (they can fit poorly and irritate the skin).
- In cool weather, keep your feet warm by wearing appropriate socks.
- Wear only clean and dry socks. These should be changed each day.
- Use socks to keep your feet warm at night – not a hot water bottle or other heating device.
- Inspect shoes and socks before putting them on. Since numbness in the feet is common, you may not notice a rock or stick in the bottom of your shoe.
- Continually check in with your doctor and make sure your diabetes is under control.
Your doctor may prescribe custom-made shoes. These shoes are meant to reduce the chances of rubbing or scraping inside the shoe. Because of issues like numbness of the feet and toes, poor circulation, and foot deformities special shoes for diabetic patients are made of special protective inserts and soft materials.