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Diabetes Foot Care

Foot Care for those with Diabetes

It’s important to understand the connection between diabetes and foot care. As a person with diabetes, you are more vulnerable to foot problems because diabetes can damage your nerves and reduce blood flow to your feet. Diabetes changes your body’s ability to fight infections. Damage to blood vessels because of diabetes results in less blood and oxygen getting to your feet. Because of this, small sores or breaks in the skin may become deeper skin ulcers.The American Diabetes Association estimates that one in five people with diabetes who seek hospital care do so for foot problems. By taking proper care of your feet, most serious health problems associated with diabetes can be prevented.

Avoid temperature extremes.
  • Test water with your elbow before bathing.
  • Do not walk barefoot.
  • Do not walk on hot surfaces, such as sandy beaches, black top or cement around swimming pools.
  • If your feet feel cold, wear socks; do not apply hot water bottles or heating pads.
  • In winter, take precautions against cold weather by wearing protective footgear, i.e. fleece-lined boots.
Shoes should be comfortable at the time of purchase. Do not depend on shoes to stretch.
Shoes should be made of leather. Running shoes may be worn but check with your physician.

Do not wear sandals or thongs that have a strip between the toes.

Notify your physician/podiatrist at once if any redness, blisters or wounds develop on your feet. Be sure to tell your podiatrist that you have diabetes.

Inspect the inside of shoes
daily for foreign objects, nail points, torn linings and rough areas.

Wear properly fitting socks made of cotton or wool. Do not wear mended socks. Avoid socks with seams. Change socks daily.

Avoid crossing legs. This can cause pressure on the nerves and blood vessels.

When seeing your physician on regular visits, be sure that your feet are examined at least four (4) times a year.

Foot Care Dos

  • Keep feet clean, wash (don’t soak) them daily with warm water.
  • Use mild hand soap and rinse well.
  • Dry feet thoroughly, especially between toes.
  • After bathing/showering, rub calluses with a callus file, emery board, pumice stone or towel.
  • Use moisture restoring lotions in small amounts and massage well. Do not apply between toes.
  • If your feet perspire, use small amounts of talcum, bath powder, or mild foot powder.
  • Trim toenails straight across. Straighten and file with an emery board.
  • Wear shoes which cover and protect your feet.
  • Select leather rather than shoes made of manmade materials.
  • Break in new shoes gradually.
  • Change shoes twice a day.
  • Shoes should be comfortable when purchased; don’t depend on breaking them in.
  • Wear clean socks every day.
  • If your feet are cold at night, wear warm socks.
  • See your physician regularly and make sure your feet are examined.

Foot Care DON’Ts

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Avoid exposure of feet to extremes of hot or cold.
  • Never keep feet too moist or too dry.
  • Don’t pull off loose pieces of skin.
  • Don’t use perfumed lotions or put lotions or creams between toes.
  • Never file toenails too short.
  • Never cut thick toenails, corns, or calluses. Rely on a foot specialist to handle these problems.
  • Avoid strong chemicals for removal of corns or calluses. Never use over-the-counter corn or callus removers.
  • Don’t apply heating pads or hot water bottles to your feet.
  • Avoid abrasive or ill-fitting shoes.
  • Never wear thong sandals.
  • Avoid open-toe shoes and high heels, since these can result in injury to your feet.
  • Do not wear socks with holes in them. Socks should not be darned.
  • Don’t walk barefoot, even indoors.
  • Never go without shoes around a swimming pool, lake or beach.

    >> Click here for the Diabetes Foot Care brochure.


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Touro Infirmary, 1401 Foucher Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70115
Phone: 504-897-7011 Pencil
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