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5 Foot Care Tips to Prevent Wounds continued...

Take special care of your feet every day. Wash your feet with warm, not hot, water daily. (Test the water temperature with your elbow first.) Don’t soak your feet. Dry them well, especially between the toes.

Gently file corns and calluses with a pumice stone after you wash your feet. Keep your toenails trimmed to the shape of your toe, filing the edges with an emery board.

High blood sugar levels can cause your body to lose fluid, which can lead to dry, cracked skin. To keep skin from getting too dry, use a small amount of moisturizer daily -- but not between your toes.

Get the right shoes. Going barefoot increases the chance you'll injure your feet, so always wear slippers or shoes and socks. To discourage bacteria and fungus between toes and to prevent irritation, follow these tips:

  • Wear socks made of cotton or a material that wicks away moisture. Avoid socks with seams, which can cause rubbing or irritation, and nylons, which make feet sweat and don’t provide enough protection for your feet. Change socks daily. 
  • Make sure your shoes fit well. Stay away from pointed shoes, which crowd the toes, and those with seams inside the toe box, which can irritate them. “Don’t buy shoes first thing in the morning,” Kavros says. “Wait until mid-afternoon, when you already have some edema [swelling] in your feet. You’ll get a much better fit.”

Get foot exams. “At the very least, everyone with type 2 diabetes should have an initial foot exam with a podiatrist to evaluate their nerves, circulation, and anything in their foot structure that could predispose them to problems down the line,” Kavros says. This includes bunions, corns, and hammertoes (buckled-under toes). A podiatrist can also provide regular foot care if you can’t.

Ask your doctor to look at your feet at every diabetes checkup.

Exercise -- but gently. Diet and exercise are the cornerstones of diabetes care -- for keeping blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in check. If you’re worried about foot injuries, talk to your doctor about the right exercise for you. Swimming, biking, yoga, and tai chi are among the exercises that are easy on your feet.

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