Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime

A Guide for People with Diabetes


You can take care of your feet!

        Do you want to avoid serious foot problems that can lead to a toe, foot, or leg amputation?  Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime tells you how.  It's all about taking good care of your feet.

         Foot care is very important for each person with diabetes, but especially if your have:

  • Loss of feeling in your feet.
  • Changes in the shape of your feet.
  • Foot ulcers or sores that do not heal.


        Nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet.  You may not feel a pebble insude your sock that is causing a sore.  You may not feel a blister caused by poorly fitting shoes.  Foot injuries such as these can cause ulcers which may lead to amputation.


1.  Take Care of your Diabetes.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices to help keep your bllod glucose (sugar) , blood pressure, and cholesterol close to normal.  Doing so may help prevent or delay diabetes-related foot problems as well as kidney disease.
  • Work with your health care team to make a diaetes plan that fits your lifestyle.  The team may include your doctor, a diabetes educator, a nurse, a dietitian, a foot care doctor called a podiatrist (pah-DI-ah-trist), and other specialists.
    • Know when to get checks of your A1C*, blood pressure, and cholesterol. 
    • Know haow and when to test your blood glucose.
    • Take your medications as prescribed.
    • Eat regular meals that contain a variety of healthy, low-fat. high-fiber foods incluiding fruits and vegetables each day.
    • Get physical activity each day.
    • Stop Smoking.
    • Follow your foot care plan.
    • Keep your doctor;s visits and have your feet, eyes, and kidneys checked at least once a year.
    • Visit your dentist twice a year.


                *A1C is a measure of your blood glucose over a 3                   month period.


2.  Check your feet every day.

  • You may have serious foot problems, but feel no pain. Check your feet of cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails.  Find a time (evening is best) to check your feet each day.
  •  Make checking  your feet part of your every day routine.
  • If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a plastic mirror to help.  You can also ask a family member or caregiver to help you.


3.   Wash your feet everyday.

  •    Wash your feet in warm, not not, water.  Do not soak            your feet, because your skin will get dry.







  •     Dry your feet well.  Be sure to dry between your toes.           Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin                 between your toes dry.






    4.  
    Keep the skin soft and smooth.

  •       Rub a thin coat of skin lotion, cream, or                               petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet.
  •       Do not put lotion or cream between your toes, because         this might cause an infection.

    5.  
    Smooth corns and calluses gently.

  •       If you have corns and calluses, check with your foot             care specialist about the best way to care for them.
  •       If your doctor tells you to , use a pumice stone to                 smooth corns and calluses after bathing or showering.           A pumice stone is a type of rock used to smooth the             skin.  Rub gently, only in one direction, to avoid                   tearing the skin.
  •      Do not cut corns and calluses.  Don't use razor blades,          corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers -- they        can damage your skin.









6.  Trim your toenails each week or when needed.

  •   Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry          your feet.
  •   Trim your toenails straight accross and smooth them with     an emery board or nail file.
  •   Don't cut into the corners of the toenail.
  •   If you can't see well, if your toenails are thick or yellowed,   or if your nails curve and grow into the skin, have a foot       care doctor trim them for you.


7.  Wear shoes and socks at all time.

  • Wear shoes and socks at all times,  Do Not Walk Barefoot -- Not even indoors -- because it is easy to step on something or stump your toe and hurt your feet.
  • Always wear socks, stockings, or nylons with your shoes to help avoid blisters and sores.
  • Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well,  Socks that have no seams are best.
  • Check the insides of your shoes before you put them on to be sure the lining is smooth and that there are no objects in them.
  • Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet.


8.  Protect your feet from hot and cold.

  • Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement.
  • Put sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn.
  • Keep your feet away from rediators and open fires.
  • Do not put hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet.
  • Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.  Lines boots are good in winter to keep your feet warm.
  • Check your feet often in cold weather to avoid frostbite.



9.  Keep the blood flowing to your feet.

 

  • Put your feet up when you are sitting.
  • Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day.  Move your ankles up and down and in and out to improve blood flow to your feet and legs.
  • Don't cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • Don't wear tight socks, elastic or rubber bands, or garters around your legs.
  • Don't smoke.  Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet.  Ask for help to stop smoking.
  • Work with your health care team to control your A1C (blood glucose), blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Put your feet up when you are sitting.

10.  Be more Active.


Ask your doctor to help you plan a daily activity program that is right for you.

  • Walking, dancing, swimming, and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are wasy on the feet.
  • Avoid activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping.
  • Always include a short warm-up and cool-down period.
  • Wear athletic shoes that fit well and that provide good support.

11.  Be sure to ask your doctor or podiatrist to:

  • Check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet at least once a year.
  • Tell you if you are likely to have serious foot problems. If you do have serious foot problems, your feet should be checked at every visit to your doctor.
  • Show you how to care for your feet. 
  • Refer you to a foot care doctor (podiatrist) if needed.
  • Decide if special shoes would help your feet stay healthy.


12.  Get started NOW.

  • Begin taking good care of your feet today.

  • Set a time every day to check your feet.
  • Note the date of your next visit to the doctor.
  • Print out this "Foot Care Tip Sheet" and put it on your bathroom or bedroom wall or nightstand as a reminder.
  • Print out and complete the "To Do" list.  Get started now.  
  • Set a date for uying the things you need to take care of your feet:  Nail clippers, pumice stone, emery board, skin lotion, talcum powder, plastic mirror, socks, athletic shoes, and slippers.
  • Most important, stick with your foot care program... and give yourself a special treat such as a new pair of lightly padded socks with no seams.  You Deserve it!

REMINDER:

 Make sure to call your Doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after ONE (1) day.

TIP:   Before bathing or showering, test the water to make sure it is not too hot.  You can use a thermometer (90 degrees to 95 degrees is safe) or your elbow.

REMINDER:

 Make sure to call your Doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after ONE (1) day.

TIP:  Put lotion on the tops and bottoms of your feet.

REMINDER:

 Make sure to call your Doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after ONE (1) day.

How to take care of your diabetic feet.

To-Do List