Foot problems are one of the most common problems that diabetics experience. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), foot problems are one of the reasons why 1 in 5 people with diabetes seek hospital care. To ensure the best possible foot health and prevent any serious problem, here are the top 5-foot care tips you should follow.
1. Check Your Feet Everyday: Even if your feet look healthy, you need to look over both feet carefully every day, and be sure you check between all of your toes. Blisters and infections can start between your toes, and with diabetic neuropathy, you may not feel them until they’ve become irritated or infected. For the bottoms of your feet, you can use a mirror or ask others for help. Consult your doctor immediately if you discover any sores, redness, cuts, blisters or bruises.
2. Wash with Warm Water: Wash both of your feet briefly each day with warm water. Avoid using hot water and harsh soaps, as they can damage your skin and avoid soaking too long in water since waterlogged sores have a harder time healing. Dry your feet right away, and remember to dry gently between all of your toes. Use your elbow to check the water temperature before getting into the tub or shower, as diabetes may make it difficult to sense the water temperature with your feet.
3. Wear Proper Shoes and Socks: Always wear shoes or slippers. Always wear socks with your shoes, since leather, plastics, and manmade shoe materials can irritate your skin and quickly bring on blisters. While you might prefer the look of hose, nylon knee-highs, or thin socks, you may find that these don’t give your toes or heels enough protection. Wear thicker socks to pad your feet and cushion any calluses or sore spots.
4. Don’t Go Barefoot: Never walk barefoot, especially in the garden or on the beach, to avoid cuts. In fact, when walking outside, you must try to wear shoes with good coverage. Even in the house, you should also avoid walking barefoot because that puts your feet at risk for small cuts, scrapes, and penetration by splinters, glass shards, and the misplaced sewing needle or thumbtack.
5. Keep Your Skin Dry: Your skin may be dry and cracked because of high glucose levels, and cracked skin means it’s easier for bacteria to get under your skin and harder for infections to heal. Use a small amount of skin lotion daily, but be sure your feet feel dry, not damp or sticky, afterward. Try not to get the lotion in between your toes.