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Diabetic Nerve Pain: 10 Foot Care Tips to Protect Yourself

4. Skip the barefoot look.

Always wear shoes or slippers. Always wear socks with your shoes, since leather, plastics, and manmade shoe materials can irritate your skin and quickly bring on blisters.

While you might prefer the look of hose, nylon knee-highs, or thin socks, you may find that these don't give your toes or heels enough protection. Wear thicker socks to pad your feet and cushion any calluses or sore spots.

5. Speak up.

Nerve damage can be unpredictable. Tell your doctor about any changes in sensation in your toes, feet, or legs. Speak up if you notice pain, tingling, a pins-and-needles feeling, numbness, or any other unusual signs -- even if it seems trivial to you. There's nothing small-potatoes about a potential foot amputation.

6. Stay soft, but dry.

Your skin may be dry and cracked because of high glucose levels, and cracked skin means it's easier for bacteria to get under your skin and harder for infections to heal. Use a small amount of skin lotion daily, but be sure your feet feel dry, not damp or sticky, afterward. Try not to get the lotion in between your toes.

Keep your toenails trimmed and filed smooth to avoid ingrown toenails. You may find it easier to trim your nails after using lotion, when your cuticles are softer.

Use a pumice stone after showering or bathing to softly file corns or calluses.

7. Try non-impact exercise.

Swimming, cycling, yoga, and tai chi are increasingly popular ways to exercise -- with minimal impact on your feet. Talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program.

8. Fix bunions, corns, and hammertoes.

If your big toe slants sharply in toward your other toes, with a big bump on the knuckle of your big toe, you've got a classic bunion. Corns are spots of thick, rough skin, where the tissue builds up on toes constantly barraged by too much rubbing or pressure. A buckled-under toe, called a hammertoe, can result from muscle weakness caused by diabetic nerve damage. All of these make it hard to fit shoes comfortably.

A good podiatrist can help you fix these problems and take better care of your feet.

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