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If You're Diabetic, Caring for Your Feet a Must

Good foot care is essential for people with diabetes.


HealthDay News

Good foot care is essential for people with diabetes, a foot surgeon says.

Diabetes can cause nerve damage that leads to a loss of sensation in the feet, making it difficult to feel any sores, blisters or injuries, explained Dr. John Giurini. He is chief of podiatric surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Diabetes can also reduce blood supply to the feet, making it difficult for injuries to heal.

People with diabetes should regularly inspect their feet, Giurini said. The best time is immediately after a shower while drying your feet or at the end of the day when removing socks and shoes.

If you notice a blister, apply a clean dressing with an antiseptic, stay off the foot, and contact your podiatrist or physician, Giurini said in a medical center news release.

Inspect the insides of your shoes before putting them on, for things such as rocks, pebbles and other debris that can cause irritation of the foot. Due to a lack of sensation in your feet, you may not be able to feel these objects, he explained.

High-risk patients should be seen by a foot care specialist every three months, Giurini said. High-risk patients include those with abnormal sensation or circulation, or those with foot deformities.

Caring for Your Feet

There are many things you can do to keep your feet healthy.
  • Take care of your diabetes. Work with your health care team to keep your blood glucose in your target range.
  • Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help.
  • Be more active. Plan your physical activity program with your health team.
  • Ask your doctor about Medicare coverage for special shoes.
  • Wash your feet every day. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes.
  • Keep your skin soft and smooth. Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes. Read more about skin care.
  • If you can see and reach your toenails, trim them when needed. Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
  • Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don't put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
  • Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, two (2) or three (3) times a day. Don't cross your legs for long periods of time. Don't smoke.
  • Get started now. Begin taking good care of your feet today.  Set a time every day to check your feet.

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Health News: If You're Diabetic, Caring for Your Feet a Must
If You're Diabetic, Caring for Your Feet a Must
Good foot care is essential for people with diabetes.
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