12 STEPS TO HEALTHIER, HAPPIER FEET
Foot problems associated with diabetes are a signifcant portion of the health risk and cost. Here are 12 steps to healthier, happier feet!
Take care of your diabetes
Make healthy lifestyle choices to keep your blood glucose (sugar), blood pressure and cholesterol close to normal. Doing so may help prevent or delay diabetes-related foot problems.
Check your feet every day
You may have serious foot problems without feeling pain. Check your feet for cuts, sores, swelling and infected toenails every day.
Wash your feet every day
Wash your feet in warm water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get dry. When you’re done, dry well, especially between your toes. Use talcum powder or cornstarch to keep the skin between your toes dry.
Keep your skin soft & smooth
Rub a thin coat of skin lotion or cream on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Do not moisturize between your toes, as this could trap moisture and lead to further skin problems.
Smooth corns & calluses gently
If you have corns or calluses, check with your doctor or podiatrist about the best way to care for them. If they tell you to, use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses after bathing. Rub gently in only one direction to avoid tearing the skin.
Trim your toenails each week
Trim your toenails with clippers after you wash and dry your feet. Trim toenails straight across and smooth them with an emery board or nail file. Don’t cut the corners of the toenails. You may ask your podiatrist to trim your toenails.
Wear shoes & socks at all times
Do not walk barefoot, even indoors, because it’s easy to step on something 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.
Protect your feet from hot & cold
Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement, and put sunscreen on the top of your feet to prevent sunburn. Wear socks at night if your feet are cold. Be sure to wear warm shoes or boots in cold weather
Keep the blood flowing to your feet
• Put your feet up when you’re sitting
• Wiggle your toes for five minutes two or three times per day
• Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time
• Don’t smoke. Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet
• Work with your health care team to control your diabetes
Be more active
Ask your doctor to help you plan a daily activity program that’s right for you. Walking, dancing, swimming and bicycling are good forms of exercise that are easy on the feet. Always include a warm-up and cool-down period, and wear athletic shoes that fit well and provide good support.
Be sure to ask your doctor
• Check the sense of feeling and pulses in your feet annually
• Tell you if you’re likely to have foot problems
• Show you how to care for your feet
• Refer you to a good podiatrist
• Decide if special shoes would help your feet stay healthy
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. Most importantly, stick to your foot care program.