Your feet are important parts of your body. Yet, we often give them the least amount of attention.
Foot health is important when you have diabetes, and it’s important to keep track of any little changes with the health of your feet on a daily basis.
Take the following steps to take good care of your feet.
- Wash your feet in warm water every day. Make sure the water is not too hot by testing the temperature with your elbow. Do not soak your feet. Dry your feet well, especially between your toes.
- Look at your feet every day to check for cuts, sores, blisters, redness, calluses, or other problems. Checking every day is even more important if you have nerve damage or poor blood flow. If you cannot bend over or pull your feet up to check them, use a mirror. If you cannot see well, ask someone else to check your feet.
- If your skin is dry, rub lotion on your feet after you wash and dry them. Do not put lotion between your toes.
- Cut your toenails once a week or when needed. Cut toenails when they are soft from washing. Cut them to the shape of the toe and not too short. File the edges with an emery board.
- Always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet from injuries.
- Always wear socks or stockings to avoid blisters. Do not wear socks or knee-high stockings that are too tight below your knee.
- Wear shoes that fit well. Shop for shoes at the end of the day when your feet are bigger. Break-in shoes slowly. Wear them 1 to 2 hours each day for the first 1 to 2 weeks.
- Before putting your shoes on, feel the insides to make sure they have no sharp edges or objects that might injure your feet.
How can I get my doctor to help me take care of my feet?
At Your Next Doctor’s Visit
Ask your doctor to look at your feet at each diabetes checkup, and be sure to tell him or her right away about any foot problems. To make sure your doctor checks your feet, take off your shoes and socks before your doctor comes into the room.
Also, ask your doctor to check how well the nerves in your feet sense feeling. You can also ask your doctor to check how well blood is flowing to your legs and feet.
Another good question to ask your doctor is to show you the best way to trim your toenails. Ask what lotion or cream they recommend to use on your legs and feet. The options can be overwhelming in the drug store, might as well get suggestions from a good source when you can.
If you cannot cut your toenails or you have a foot problem, ask your doctor to send you to a foot doctor, or podiatrist.
Can Special Shoes Help Your Feet?
Special shoes and shoe inserts, such as orthotics, can be made to fit softly around your sore feet or feet that have changed shape.
These special shoes help protect your feet. Talk to your doctor about how and where to get them.
Diabetic shoes are made to help you avoid injuries like blisters, calluses, and other wounds. If your doctor wants you to wear diabetic shoes, it’s probably best to be fitted by a podiatrist to ensure that you get the right shoe style and size.
Some key features of diabetic shoes include a wide Toe Box, soft leather or microfiber material, roomier inside, and easy to wear or adjust.
In some cases, Medicare may even cover the cost of diabetic shoes.
What About Diabetic Socks?
There are special socks for people with diabetes also. Not everyone needs them, it’s something your doctor should advise you about especially if your feet need special protection or if you have neuropathy.
Diabetic socks are designed to be moisture-wicking to minimize rubbing. Even if you don’t get these socks, there are several key features to look out for when purchasing a pair: One is that they are seamless, which means they don’t have seams. This is a key feature because it will eliminate irritation around the toes.
It’s important to keep your feet dry, so look for socks made from microfiber, acrylic, merino wool, or bamboo. Another feature you can look for are socks with anti-microbial properties. This usually means a silver or copper threading, which protects the feet from bacteria and fungus.
If circulation is an issue, your doctor may recommend wearing compression socks. Speak with your doctor to see if they’re right for you.
Learn more about foot health here.
Reviewed by Francine Kaufman, M.D. Updated and republished by dLife editors 10/18/2019.