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Diabetes Foot Care Is In Your Hands

If your toes are tingly, cracked or sore, if your feet are numb, cold or prone to infection, you could have diabetes-related foot problems. One study found that as many as 50 percent of people with diabetes have nerve damage to their feet, but you don't have to be one of them. The following quick tips can help keep your feet in fine form.

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Diabetes Foot Care: 4 Quick Tips

Make caring for your feet part of your daily routine and you can prevent diabetes foot problems before they start. These simple steps, explained in the next slides, take just minutes:

  1. Prevent blood sugar spikes.
  2. Inspect your feet daily.
  3. Protect your feet from injury.
  4. Get help when you have problems or questions.
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Inspect Your Feet Daily

Your feet do a lot for you, so give a little back. Look them over twice a day, checking for cuts, cracks, calluses, sores, bunions, blisters, ingrown toenails or redness — and check between toes, too. Use a mirror to help if bending is difficult. See a problem? Talk to your doctor right away.

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Protect Your Feet

To keep feet in good condition, wash them daily with mild soap and warm water and then dry them carefully — between the toes as well. Apply a little lotion on tops and bottoms to keep skin moist and prevent the cracks that can invite infection. Finally, wear well-fitting, comfortable shoes that protect your feet and can help prevent sores, corns, blisters and other problems.

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Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes

High blood sugar that remains unchecked raises your risk of poor blood flow and nerve damage to your feet, which can make you prone to foot numbness, sores and lingering infections. If not caught in time, foot ulcers and infections can turn serious, leading to gangrene, and even amputation of a toe, foot or leg.

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Get Help: Talk to Your Doctor

Regular checkups are a big part of foot care when you've got diabetes. To prevent problems before they start, see your doctor for a full foot exam at least once a year. If your feet are numb or tingling or have slow-healing sores or other problems, call your doctor right away.

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Hot and Cold Dos and Don'ts

Diabetes can leave feet much less sensitive to hot and cold, so:

  • DO protect feet from temperature extremes.
  • DON'T use heating pads or electric blankets on your feet.
  • DO wear shoes at the beach and on hot pavement.
  • DO wash your feet in lukewarm water with a mild soap.
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Shoe and Toenail Tips

  • Wear comfortable, well-fitting shoes; avoid heels and pointed, tight, or open-toed shoes.
  • Avoid seamed socks or stockings, which can cause pressure points.
  • Look for canvas, leather or suede shoes; avoid materials that make feet sweaty.
  • Keep toenails trimmed; cut nails straight across, and don't cut into the corners.
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Simple Steps for Staying Healthy

Taking care of your whole body helps you care for your feet, too. You can do that by sticking to your diabetes meal plan, checking your blood sugar, limiting alcohol, and not smoking. Getting 30 minutes of physical activity most days will not only help to reduce excess weight, but it can also reduce triglyceride levels, blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

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Common Doesn't Mean Inevitable

Diabetes foot problems are common, but there's a lot you can do to avoid them. Make your health care provider your partner in prevention, and you can keep your feet healthy and take control of your diabetes today — and every day.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 02/23/2017 Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 23, 2017

IMAGES PROVIDED BY:

1)         Jevgenija Pigozne
2)         Mr. Phil Fisk/Oxford Scientific
3)         Justin Leighton/Dorling Kindersley
4)         Trish Gant/Dorling Kindersley
5)         Purestock
6)         Steve Pomberg/WebMD
7)         Tyson Ellis/Sheltered Images
8)         Glowimages
9)         Moodboard/Cultura
10)       Belmonte/BSIP
 

REFERENCES:

American Diabetes Association: "Foot Care."

Joslin Diabetes Center: "4 Tips for Foot Care When You Have Diabetes."

Medscape: “Diabetic Neuropathy.”

National Institutes of Health: “MedlinePlus: Diabetes Foot Care," "Prevent Diabetes Problems: Keep Your Feet and Skin Healthy."

The Patient Education Institute: "Diabetes Foot Care."

Reviewed by Michael Dansinger, MD on February 23, 2017

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.