Recommended Foot Care for Diabetics

Daily Foot Care



Check your feet and toes daily
Inspect your feet every day for bruises, sores, abrasions, or changes to the toenails, such as thickening or discoloration. If age or other factors hinder self-inspection, ask someone to help you, or use a mirror.

Wash your feet daily
Use a mild soap and lukewarm water to wash your feet in the mornings or before bed each evening.  Dry feet carefully with a soft towel, especially between the toes, and dust your feet with talcum powder to wick away moisture. If the skin is dry, use a moisturizing cream daily but avoid getting it between the toes.

Cut toenails straight across
Never cut into the corners, or taper, which may trigger an ingrown toenail. Use an emery board to gently file away sharp corners or snags. If your nails are hard to trim, ask your podiatric physician for assistance.

Don't attempt to remove corns, calluses, or warts by yourself.
Avoid commercial, over-the-counter products that remove warts or corns because they could burn the skin and cause irreversible damage to the foot. Never try to cut calluses with a razor blade or any other instrument because the risk of cutting yourself is too high, and such wounds can often lead to more serious ulcers and lacerations. See your podiatrist for assistance in these cases.

Health

Loose weight
People with diabetes are commonly overweight, which nearly doubles the risk of complications.

Exercise
As a means to keep weight down and improve circulation, walking is one of the best all-around exercises for the diabetic patient. Walking is also an excellent conditioner for your feet. Be sure to wear appropriate athletic shoes when exercising. Ask your podiatric physician what’s best for you.

Quit smoking
Tobacco products can contribute to circulatory problems, which can be especially troublesome in patients with diabetes.

Don’t drink excessively.
Alcohol can contribute to neuropathy (nerve damage) which is another consequence of diabetes. Drinking can potentially speed up the damage associated with the disease, deaden more nerves, and increase the possibility of overlooking a seemingly minor cut or injury.

See your podiatric physician.
Regular annual checkups by your podiatric specialist are the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.

Shoes and Clothing

Don’t go barefoot.
Never go barefoot. Not even in your own home. Barefoot walking outside is particularly dangerous because of the possibility of cuts, falls, and infection. When at home, wear slippers.

Wear thick, soft socks
Socks made of an acrylic blend are well suited but avoid mended socks or those with seams, which could rub to cause blisters or other skin injuries.

When buying new shoes, be properly measured and fitted.
Shoes are of great importance to diabetes sufferers because poor fitting shoes are involved in as many as half of the problems that lead to foot amputations.  Foot shape and size may change over time. Everyone should have their feet measured by an experienced shoe fitter whenever purchasing a new pair of shoes.

New shoes should be comfortable at the time of purchase and should not require a "break-in" period, though it’s a good idea to wear them for short periods of time at first. Shoes should comfortably fit both the length and width of the foot, leaving room for the toes to wiggle freely. Shoes should have leather or canvas uppers and be cushioned and sturdy.

Don’t wear high heels, sandals, and shoes with pointed toes.
These types of footwear can put additional pressure on parts of the foot and contribute to bone and joint disorders, as well as diabetic ulcers. In addition, open-toed shoes and sandals with straps between the first two toes should also be avoided.

Don’t wear tight clothing around the legs.
Pantyhose, panty girdles, thigh-highs or knee-highs can be constrictive to circulation in your legs and feet. Men's dress socks can also constrict circulation if the elastic is too tight. Avoid these types of garments.