Daily foot care for diabetics
As always, prevention is the best medicine. A good daily foot care regimen will help keep your feet healthy.
Start by assembling a foot care kit containing nail clippers, nail file, lotion, a pumice stone and a non-breakable hand mirror. Having everything you need in one place makes it easier to follow this foot care routine every day:
- Wash your feet in warm (not hot) water, using a mild soap.
- Don’t soak your feet, as this can dry your skin.
- While your feet are still wet, use a pumice stone to keep calluses under control.
- Dry your feet carefully, especially between your toes.
- Thoroughly check your feet and between your toes to make sure there are no cuts, cracks, ingrown toenails, blisters, etc.
- Use a hand mirror to see the bottom of your feet, or ask someone else to check them for you.
- Clean cuts or scratches with mild soap and water, and cover with a dry dressing suitable for sensitive skin.
- Trim your toenails straight across and file any sharp edges. Don’t cut the nails too short.
- Apply an unperfumed lotion to your heels and soles. Wipe off excess lotion that is not absorbed. Don’t put lotion between your toes, as the excessive moisture can promote infection.
- Wear fresh clean socks and well-fitting shoes every day. Whenever possible, wear white socks – if you have a cut or sore, the drainage will be easy to see.
Healthy feet do’s and don’ts for diabetics
- Do wear well-fitting shoes. They should be supportive, have low heels (less than 5 cm high) and should not rub or pinch. Shop at a reputable store with knowledgeable staff who can professionally fit your shoes.
- Do wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
- Do elevate your feet when you are sitting.
- Do wiggle your toes and move your ankles around for a few minutes several times a day to improve blood flow in your feet and legs.
- Do exercise regularly to improve circulation.
- Do inspect your feet daily and in particular, feel for skin temperature differences between your feet.
- Don’t wear high heels, pointed-toe shoes, sandals (open toe or open heel) or worn-out shoes.
- Don’t wear anything tight around your legs, such as tight socks or knee-highs, unless custom stockings are prescribed by your doctor.
- Don’t ever go barefoot, even indoors. Consider buying a pair of well-fitting shoes that are just for indoors.
- Don’t put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
- Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking decreases circulation and healing and significantly increases the risks of amputation.
- Don’t have pedicures by non-healthcare professionals.
Source: B.C. Association of Podiatrists