Can foot problems associated with diabetes be prevented?

Proper foot care can help prevent these common foot problems and/or treat them before they cause serious complications. Here are some tips for good foot care:

  1. Take care of yourself and your diabetes. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice regarding nutrition, exercise, and medication. Keep your blood glucose level within the range recommended by your health care provider.
  2. Wash your feet in warm water every day, using a mild soap. Do not soak your feet. Dry your feet well, especially between the toes.
  3. Check your feet every day for sores, blisters, redness, calluses or any of the other problems listed above. If you have poor blood flow, it is especially important to do a daily foot check.
  4. If the skin on your feet is dry, keep it moist by applying lotion after you wash and dry your feet. Do not put lotion between your toes. Your health care provider can tell you which type of lotion is best to use.
  5. Gently smooth corns and calluses with an emery board or pumice stone. Do this after your bath or shower, when your skin is soft. Move the emery board in only one direction.
  6. Check your toenails once a week. Trim your toenails with a nail clipper straight across. Do not round off the corners of toenails or cut down on the sides of the nails. After clipping, smooth the toenails with an emery board.
  7. Always wear closed-toed shoes or slippers. Do not wear sandals. Do not walk barefoot, even around the house.
  8. Always wear socks or stockings. Wear socks or stockings that fit your feet well and have soft elastic.
  9. Wear shoes that fit well. Buy shoes made of canvas or leather, and break them in slowly.
  10. Protect your feet from heat and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
  11. Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting, wiggle your toes and move your ankles several times a day, and don’t cross your legs for long periods of time.
  12. Stop smoking. Smoking can make blood flow problems worse.
  13. If you have a foot problem that gets worse or won’t heal, contact your health care provider for advice and treatment.
  14. Make sure your diabetes doctor examines your feet during each check-up.
  15. See your podiatrist (foot doctor) every 2 to 3 months for check-ups, even if you don’t have any foot problems.

Can skin problems associated with diabetes be prevented?

Keeping your diabetes under control is the most important factor in preventing the skin-related complications of diabetes. Follow your healthcare provider’s advice regarding nutrition, exercise, and medication. Keep your blood glucose level within the range recommended by your healthcare provider. Proper skin care also can help reduce your risk of skin-related problems.

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