Foot Care for Patients with Diabetes

As a diabetic, you have a higher risk of developing foot problems such as foot sores (ulcer) and infections, especially if your blood sugars tend to be above 150. Over time, the elevated blood sugars can lead to diminished circulation, diminished nerve function and can inhibit your body’s ability to fight infection. For example, think about the consequences of stepping on a sewing needle. First of all, if you have a loss of sensation, you probably wont’t feel the needle (so it could remain in your foot for days).

Second, with diminished circulation, your body won’t be able to get sufficient infection fighting cells to the area. Finally, when the infection fighting cells do get the needle, they may not be able to perform as effectively. In the end, you’re likely to develop an infection. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the case. By regularly following some simple guidelines, you can prevent infections and other problems from developing.

Do’s

  • Inspect your feet daily. Be sure to check the back of the heel, the sole and in between the toes. Some diabetics find it helpful to use a small mirror to check those hard to see places. Watch for corns, calluses, blisters, cuts, redness–anything out of the ordinary. Always call my office immediately if you discover any problems.
  • Inspect the inside of your shoes every day. Make sure the inside is smooth. Watch for pebbles, nails, torn or wrinkled linings.
  • Wash your feet daily with mild soap and dry well, especially between the toes.
  • Check bath water temperature with your elbow before getting in (the temperature sensing ability of your feet may be diminished).
  • Apply lotion after bathing to keep your skin soft and supple.
  • Wear clean, dry socks without holes or wrinkles.
  • Wear soft, roomy shoes that allow your toes to move.

Dont’s

  • Never walk barefoot, even indoors in your own home.
  • Never wear sandals (pebbles and other debris can get under your feet).
  • Do not soak your feet (this will dry your skin excessively).
  • Avoid tight-fitting shoes with pointed toes or high heels.
  • Do not wear a new pair of shoes for more than 3 or 4 hours for the first few days. Be sure to remove the shoes every hour or so to inspect your feet for blisters or irritation
  • Do not use sharp instruments or drugstore chemicals to remove corns, calluses or ingrown nails.
  • Avoid placing your feet in front of the fireplace, under a heating pad or near a furnace.
  • Never pop a blister.

Call the Office Immediately

  • If your foot becomes red, hot or swollen.
  • If you develop a blister, sore, abrasion, irritation, ingrown toenail or burn.
  • If you develop foot or leg pain.

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