One of the best things you can do for your feet is to keep your blood sugar levels under control. That can help prevent nerve damage, or peripheral neuropathy. It can cause you to lose feeling in your feet and not know when you get sores or other injuries on them. 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.
Also, inspect your feet every day for signs of infection such as redness, blisters, or pus. 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.
About two years ago, when Anne Tierney learned she had type 2 diabetes, it galvanized her. “My diagnosis came as a shock,” says Tierney, who was then about 40 pounds overweight. “I used to eat chocolate all the time. The day I was diagnosed, I quit.” She also consulted a nutritionist and hired a personal trainer. “I knew I had to take action,” recalls Tierney, 51, director of corporate gifts for Halls Crown Center in Kansas City, Mo.
Her action plan was in keeping with the latest research on diabetes,...
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 hot (over about 90 F). Gently pat your feet dry after washing them, and 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're not sharp on the corners. DON'T: Don't use a knife or rip out long nails to trim them.
DO: Always wear shoes when you’re on your feet. DON'T: Don't walk around barefoot or only in socks.
DO: Make sure your shoes fit well and have plenty of room. It’s best to shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are usually at their largest. DON'T: Don't wear shoes that feel tight.
DO: Choose shoes that are made of material that breathes, such as leather, canvas, or suede. Look for a cushioned sole to absorb pressure. Pick shoes with laces over loafers, because they provide better support. DON'T: Don't wear sandals, high heels, flip-flops, or shoes with open or pointed toes.