Diabetes can cause problems with your feet. That's partly because it can cause nerve damage, or peripheral neuropathy. You may lose feeling in your feet and not know when you get sores or other injuries on them.
This can lead to serious infections and skin ulcers. Because diabetes can make infections harder to treat, they can become deep-tissue infections. Extreme cases can lead to amputation.
It's easy to take care of your feet if you know what to do, though. Inspect your feet every day for signs of infection such as redness, blisters, or pus. Also check for swelling, pain, cuts, ingrown toenails, or sores. You can do this while you put on or take off your shoes and socks. If you can't easily see all of your foot, use a mirror or ask a family member to check your feet for you.
One of the best things you can do for your feet is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Also, ask your doctor to do a full foot exam at least once a year. If you already have nerve damage, good blood-sugar control and careful foot care can prevent further damage. In some cases, it can even reverse nerve damage.
This list of dos and don'ts will help you stay on your toes.
Diabetes Foot Care Tips: Dos and Don'ts
DO: Wash your feet every day with mild soap and lukewarm water. Test the water with your elbow or a thermometer to make sure it’s not over 90° to 95° F. Gently pat your feet dry after washing them. Make sure to dry between your toes.DON'T: Don't wash your feet in hot water. It could cause burns.
DO: Use lotion or petroleum jelly on your feet to keep the skin smooth. Sprinkle on a non-medicated powder before putting on your socks and shoes to help keep your feet dry.
DON'T: Don't use moisturizer between your toes.
DO: Ask your doctor if it’s safe to trim your own nails. Cut your toenails straight across to help prevent ingrown nails. Then file your toenails so they are not sharp on the corners.
DON'T: Don't use a knife or rip out long nails to trim them.