Diabetes often may cause problems for your feet. These problems may include a loss of sensation to your feet, which prevents you from feeling blisters, scrapes and sores. Diabetes also causes poor circulation to the feet which results in dry, cracked skin, which often lead to ulcers.
Taking good care of your feet to prevent foot problems is the most effective way to manage these complications. Wash your feet every day in warm water, not hot, and test the water first with your hand, elbow or thermometer before placing your feet in, to make sure the temperature is OK. Do not soak your feet for long periods of time. Pat your feet dry with a soft towel, making sure to dry between your toes. Do not roughly rub the skin. If your skin is dry or cracked, use a moisturizing cream, however, do not apply between your toes. This may cause a sore if allowed to stay too moist. Use foot powders sparingly.
Always wear socks, preferably white, and buy those made of 100% cotton or a blend which do not have seams or stitching around the heels and toes. Be sure to change them daily, and never wear socks with holes or those which have been mended. Inspect socks at the end of the day for wear and possible drainage from a blister or sore on the foot.
It is very important to wear boots or shoes which are properly fitted, preventing rubbing and irritation. Avoid shoes which are made of plastic, have open toes or heels, have thongs between the toes, or pointed toes. Always inspect the inside of your shoe with your hand for sharp or loose objects before putting the shoe on your foot. New shoes should be broken in slowly, and not worn for longer than two hours at a time. If diabetes has caused a deformity in your foot, you may be required to wear shoes made especially for you which will be prescribed by your doctor. At the end of the day, inspect your shoes for wear and drainage form a new blister or a sore. Never go barefoot, even at home.
Check your feet twice a day – morning and night, for red spots, blisters and sores. If an injury is discovered, no matter how small, see your doctor as soon as possible. Small sores can quickly become serious infections if not treated.
Protect your feet as much as possible. Avoid car heaters, sunburn, hot water bottles, heating pads, and adhesive tape. Do not treat corns, calluses or other foot problems on your own. Never trim your own nails or callus which has built up on your feet. This foot care must be reserved for your doctor or nurse only.