Complete Guide to Foot Care for Diabetics

A good foot care routine should be followed by everyone but for the diabetic it is essential. How to take of your feet should be taught as early and thoroughly as brushing your teeth or watching your hands, but for some reason very few adults are knowledgeable about what good foot care actually entails. When you were first diagnosed with diabetes you should have received at least a basic tutorial and patient teaching on what diabetes is, your diet, medication regimen and so on but if its been awhile or they told how important foot care but skimped on the how, you’re in luck. I’m going to give you lots of helpful tips to keep those feet healthy and your toes intact.

1) Always protect your feet. This is a priority. You should never go barefoot either outside or even inside your house. Comfortable shoe or good sturdy slippers are a must. They can be a slip on, mule, or clog but they must cover all of your toes, well padded, fit well, and be sturdy enough to protect your toes if you accidentally bump into something. No more dealing with stubbed or broken toes. When choosing a slipper make sure they are not going to shift on your foot while walking, cause abrasions, or be large enough that the slippers themselves are a hazard to walk in. It’s one thing to wear slippers to protect your feet; quite another to wear ones that will make you fall and break a hip.

2) Choosing the correct footwear is very important. It’s best to lose the high heels, platform shoes, open toed sandals, sexy but too small shoes, shoes with holes, anything that binds, bites, creates blisters is out. Quit groaning there are a large assortment of great shoes available that are comfortable without being painful in a variety of styles and colors to choose from. I’ve found that Dr. Shoals has come out with some nice comfortable shoes that don’t look like your grandmother’s as have other companies.

3) Always wear some type of protection between your feet and your shoes whether you prefer socks, hose, or booties. They have both foot nylons and thin cotton socks that shouldn’t show when you have your shoes on depending on the styles. Change your socks at least daily and always keep your feet and socks dry. Avoid foot fungi by wearing skid-proof foot protection in public showers or wet areas, be sure to remember to dry under and between toes, and use appropriate anti-fungal cream or spray at the first sign of rash or itching.

4) Break in new shoes at home. Don’t wait for that special occasion to wear that pair of new shoes. Standing on your feet or walking long distances in no picnic in new shoes. Save yourself some agony and break them in gradually at home. If you have to wait until last minute; make sure you have some band-aids, a comfortable pair of shoes/slippers, or at least a thicker pair of socks with you.

5) If you prefer showers over baths let the tub fill up with a couple inches of warm sudsy water to treat yourself to foot soak towards the end of your shower. If you take very short showers use a washcloth or the bath toggle to plug the drain to keep the water in the tub or shower to soak your feet as long as you’re in there. YOU MUST ALWAYS CHECK THE TEMPERATURE OF THE WATER WITH THE INSIDE OF YOUR WRIST BEFORE ENTERING A SHOWER OR BATH. If you have a shower like mine that gets moody with the water temperature use some common sense. If the water gets too hot GET OUTâÂ?¦that doesn’t mean cowering in the corner of the bathtub letting your feet fry, waiting until the water temperature becomes comfortable again. Using a shower or tub chair can make it easier to reach your feet to make sure they are soaped and rinsed thoroughly including under and between each toe.

6) After soaking, bathing, showering, or just getting your feet wet be sure to dry them well with a dry fluffy towel including under and between toes.

7) If your have any foot or toenail problem go to the doctor and get it taken care of right away. Do not try and cut your toenails if they are extremely brittle, thick, malformed, infected, have a professional do it for you.

8) When trimming your toenails it’s best to have someone help you. Use the correct tool for the job. Toenail scissors are easier to control and less likely to cause nail breakage then toenail clippers. Only trim your nails when they have been softened, such as after a foot soak, bath, âÂ?¦.etc. A good way to soften your nails before trimming them is to soak your feet in warm water with approximately a tablespoon of oil in the water for approximately 10-15 minutes depending on how thick your nails are. Dry thoroughly before trimming.

9) Trim nails close to toe but never into nail bed. Leave corners straight or slightly rounded but again never round past the beginning of the nail bed

10) NEVER try to self treat an ingrown toenail. Put a band-aid over a blister to protect it. Don’t puncture it or try and drain it in anyway.

11) Use a foot lotion or cream to prevent heel cracks and keep your feet moisturized and in their best condition. A great routine to get into before going to bed is to apply the lotion, make sure it is rubbed in well (gently), and inspect your feet for any abrasions, sores, corns, infectionsâÂ?¦etc. This routine will also get you very familiar with what your feet’s normal appearance and alert you to any new problems quickly so they can be corrected.

12) While sitting, resting, sleeping, or reclining, raising your feet on a pillow or footstool will help increase the blood flow to your feet and decrease swelling.

To just sum up the best way to take care of your feet is to pamper them, make sure you footwear fits and is appropriate, keep them clean and dry, and most importantly use your common sense when it comes to foot health.

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