When it comes to diabetes management, prevention is worth a pound of cure. Regular foot checks by you and your doctor are as critical as keeping your blood sugars in control to prevent diabetes-related foot complications.
Here are some important self-care tips to prevent diabetes related foot problems.
Do a thorough examination of your feet at least twice every week.
This is the most important part of foot care. Start inspecting your bare feet from the toes, paying attention to the areas between and underneath your toes. Look at the top, the bottoms (including the heels), and sides of your feet. If it’s hard for you to see the bottoms of your feet or the area behind your heels, use a mirror or ask someone else to help you.
Wash your feet every day.
Gently massage your feet with a mild soap and wash them under running lukewarm water. If you can’t feel the water’s temperature due to nerve damage, have someone else check it for you.
Pat your feet dry.
Pat dry your feet with a clean towel after each wash; avoid rubbing as this can increase dryness and dry feet are more prone to cracks, grazes, calluses, and infections.
Moisturize your feet.
Dry, flaky feet can be itchy, and scratching those itchy feet opens your pores and may expose you to harmful bacteria. To keep your feet moisturized, use an alcohol-free cream or lotion, but avoid the areas between your toes, as dampness in these areas can promote fungus growth.
Trim and file your toenails.
Long nails can pierce the nearby skin and start growing over it, causing an ingrown toenail. It’s better to use nail clippers instead of scissors to trim your toenails because clippers can easily grab the nails. Scissors may cut your skin, leaving the area vulnerable to harmful bacteria. If the nails are hard to cut, do not attempt yourself. Instead, go to a podiatrist who can trim them for you.
Do not walk around barefoot.
Wear shoes and socks or comfortable house shoes at all times to avoid injury or cuts on your feet.
Wear proper footwear.
Make sure that you’re wearing the right size shoes. Tight-fitting shoes will cause more friction, contributing to problems like ingrown nails, corns/calluses, or ulcers on the pressure points.
Two more tips for proper foot care:
- Maintain blood sugar control.
- Avoid smoking as it can also slow down your blood circulation, and in turn, impair wound healing.