Why Diabetics (and Everyone) Should Take Care of Their Feet

Keep your feet happy and you will be, too! (photo from http://www.reza-y.com/diane/index.html)

We should take care of our feet, not only for its aesthetic purposes (can you imagine if Cinderella’s foot was full of calluses and overgrown ingrowns), but we should take care of our feet because they are the most abused and most often used parts of our body, what will the walking and running we do everyday. It is our feet that carry all our weight whereever we go.

When you’re a diabetic, the more that you should take extra care.  Over time, diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. When this happens, you may not feel a pebble inside your sock or a blister on your foot, which can eventualy lead to cuts and sores. Diabetes also can lower the amount of blood flow in your feet, which can lead to foot problems – you might even lose a toe, foot, or leg.

Keep your feet happy and you will be, too! (photo from http://www.reza-y.com/diane/index.html)

Here are some simple steps on how to take care of your  feet:

Wash your feet daily.With all the running about from place to place that most people do everyday, the feet would have been exposed to a lot of dust and dirt by the end of the day. Wash your feet in warm, not hot, water. If you take showers in the morning and not at night, at least make feet-washing a part of your nightly routine when you get home. Pay extra attention to the spaces in between the toes. Wipe the feet gently with a towel afterward. It is not advisable to soak your feet because your skin will get dry, but if you do, ensure that you compensate by moisturizing. There’s a difference between moisturizing and keeping your feet dry. You can use body powders or foot powders to keep the sweat away from the feet. Exfoliate once a week to slough off dead skin on heels and toes.

Moisturize your feet everyday by integrating  lotion, foot cream, or petroleum jelly (slip on some socks) on your daily routine.  Rub a thin coat of lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Don’t over-moisturized  though, as this will cause fungus. Do not put lotion or cream between your toes because this might cause infection.

Check your feet every day. Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails. You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet. Check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, use a mirror to help.

If you can see, reach, and feel your feet, trim your toenails regularly. This is best done after washing your feet, when the skin is  still soft. Use a a good pair of clippers. Cut them only every two or three weeks. Trim your toenails straight across and smooth the corners with an emery board or nail file. Doing this prevents the nails from growing into the skin. Do not cut into the corners of the toenail. Use  a cuticle pusher. Pushing back the cuticles on your toes helps ward off fungus. Have a foot doctor (or a professional) do it for you if you cannot see or feel your feet, you cannot reach your feet, your toenails are thick or yellowed or your nails curve and grow into the skin.

Smooth corns and calluses gently. Those unusually thick patches of skin are called corns or calluses. Do not cut them, but instead use a pumice stone to smooth them out   after bathing or showering. Rub gently in one direction to avoid tearing the skin. Do not use razor blades, corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers – they can damage your skin and cause an infection.

Protect your feet at all times. Do not walk barefoot when outside or even indoors. Wear shoes and socks at all times to avoid getting blisters and sores. It is easy to step on something and hurt your feet but you may not immediately feel it and  not know that you hurt yourself. Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well. Socks that have no seams are best. Check inside your shoes before you put them on. Make sure the lining is smooth and that there are no objects inside. Invest on your foot wear. Ensure that  they fit l and that they are comfortable to wear. Do not wear tight socks, elastic, or rubber bands around your legs.  Keep your footwear clean and dry and don’t wear clammy shoes and socks.

Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Wiggle your toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to help blood flow in your feet and legs. Do not cross your legs for long periods of time. Keep yourself active  but if  you are stuck in a position where you can’t move around, put your feet up when you are sitting. Avoid smoking as well as  this can lower the amount of blood flow to your feet.

Taking care  of your feet should be something that you do everyday, but give your  feet extra care and precaution if : you feel pain, numbness or  tingling; you see changes in the shape of your feet or toes or if you have sores, cuts, or ulcers on your feet that takes longer than  usual to heal.

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