Here are some tips, compiled from information supplied by the American Diabetes Association, on how diabetics can help avoid diabetic foot problems:
- Get a thorough foot exam at least once a year from a healthcare professional, more often if you have neuropathy or other diabetes complications.
- Keep your blood sugar under control.
- Wash your feet every day with warm water and dry them carefully, especially between the toes.
- Put lotion on your feet, but never between your toes, within 10 minutes after your shower to keep the skin from drying and cracking.
- Don’t put your feet in hot water; test the water first.
- Never go barefoot.
- Avoid using hot water bottles, heating pads or electric blankets.
- Cut your toenails straight across and file the edges. Do not rip off hangnails.
- Choose comfortable, supportive, flat shoes. Break in shoes slowly.
- Choose socks carefully. They should not have seams or other bumpy areas. Pull your socks on gently to prevent ripping a toenail. Choose thick, cotton socks.
- Don’t smoke, which only increases circulation problems.
- Don’t cut off blood flow to your feet by wearing tight socks, panty hose or garters.
- Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure there are no rocks, nails or other objects inside and that the shoe itself is not rough or has torn lining.
- Check your feet, and between your toes, every day for sores, calluses, red spots, cuts, swelling and blisters. Use a mirror or ask someone for help if you can’t see the bottom of your feet.
- Don’t use chemicals on corns, calluses or warts. Over-the-counter products are often too strong for diabetics and can burn your feet.
- Do not cut corns or calluses yourself; have your doctor do it.
- Have any suspicious spots checked immediately by a foot care specialist.
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