Essential Foot Care Information from the National Diabetes Education Program

Diabetes is the leading cause of lower limb amputation. The good news is that simple foot care practices can greatly reduce your risk of developing foot disease. Here's what you need to know about proper diabetic foot care, from the National Diabetes Education Program.

Take care of your diabetes.

  • Work with your health care team to keep your blood sugar within a good range.

2. Check your feet every day.

  • Look at your bare feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling.
  • Use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet or ask a family member for help if you have trouble seeing.

3. Wash your feet every day.

  • Wash your feet in warm, not hot, water every day.
  • Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between the toes.

4. Keep the skin soft and smooth.

  • Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.

5. Smooth corns and calluses gently.

  • If your feet are at low risk for problems, use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses. Donít use over-the-counter products or sharp objects on corns or calluses.

6 . If you can see and reach your toenails, trim them each week or when needed.

  • Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.

7. Wear shoes and socks at all times.

  • Never walk barefoot.
  • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
  • Feel inside your shoes before putting them on each time to make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.

8. Protect you feet from hot and cold.

  • Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement .
  • Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
  • Donít test bath water with your feet.
  • Donít use hot water bottles or heating pads.

9. Keep the blood flowing to your feet.

  • Put your feet up when sitting.
  • Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and d own for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day.
  • Donít cross your legs for long periods of time.
  • Donít smoke.

10. Be more active.

  • Plan your physical activity program with your doctor.

11. Check with your doctor.

  • Have your doctor check your bare feet and find out whether you are likely to have serious foot problems. Remember that you may not feel the pain of an injury.
  • Call your doctor right away if you find a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your foot that does not begin to heal after one day.
  • Follow your doctorís advice about foot care.

12. Get started now.

  • Begin taking good care of your feet today.
  • Set a time every day to check your feet.