Simple Steps to Care for Your FeetIN WEIGHT MANAGEMENT
Though they’ve been taking us where we need to go for years, many of us take our trusty feet for granted. Unfortunately, many people with diabetes face unique challenges when it comes to keeping their feet healthy and safe. But you can take simple steps to protect your feet from the everyday dangers that lurk unseen, and sometimes even unfelt. If you have diabetes, here are tips to help you care for your feet. People with diabetes are at high risk for developing neuropathy, a condition that causes nerve damage throughout the body, particularly the feet. The American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org) reports that while neuropathy can be painful, it also frequently leads to a loss of feeling that reduces your body’s ability to sense hot, cold, and even pain. Blood Sugar Control, Medication, Physician Visits The good news is that you can take steps to prevent the problem from getting out of hand. Begin by keeping your diabetes under control through good management of your blood sugar, taking medication or insulin as directed, and visiting your physician regularly. Foot Protection Guidelines For added foot protection, use this guide from the American Academy of Family Practitioners (www.familydoctor.org) to stay one step ahead.
- Wash your feet every day with lukewarm (not hot) water and mild soap.
- Dry your feet well, especially between the toes. Use a soft towel and pat gently; don’t rub.
- Keep your feet dry by dusting them with non-medicated powder before putting on shoes, socks, or stockings.
- Keep the skin of your feet smooth by applying a cream or lanolin lotion, especially on the heels. If the skin is cracked, talk to your doctor about how to treat it.
- Check your feet every day. You may need a mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet.
- Call your doctor at the very first sign of redness, swelling, pain that doesn’t go away, or numbness or tingling in any part of your foot.
- Don’t treat calluses, corns, or bunions without talking to your doctor first.
- Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. It might help to soak your toenails in warm water to soften them before you cut them.
- Don’t let your feet get too hot or cold.
- Don’t go barefoot.
|Are Your Shoes Good for Your Feet?|
Your shoes are supposed to protect your feet, but could they be doing more harm than good? Because of the increased feet problems that people with diabetes experience, it’s important to choose your shoes wisely. Better later. Plan your shoe-shopping excursion for late afternoon or early evening. Because your feet are more likely to be a little swollen, you’re less likely to select size that’s too small. Smart start. Choose a shoe style that’s comfortable from the start. Don’t count on “breaking them in.” Custom comfort. If you’ve had trouble in the past with shoes that don’t fit, custom-molded shoes may be the right option for you. Talk with your doctor about specially made shoes and inserts.
For more information on diabetes, call HRMC’s diabetes educator at 353-6326 or visit us online.