Top 10 Foot Care Tips

People with diabetes have an increased risk for infections, expecially in their feet. Decreased circulation and changes in the blood vessels in the extremities can cause healing to be delayed. Complications can be devastating, if cuts and sores become infected. If the body can't fend off the infection, gangrene can develop. Amputation of the affected limb is often the result. Reduce the risk of complications and infections by following these tips.

1. Inspect Your Feet
Make sure to inspect your feet daily. Any signs of trauma such as redness or blisters, cuts, cracks, swelling or color changes should be reported to your healthcare provider immediately. Using a mirror can help you see all areas on the bottoms of your feet.
2. Does The Shoe Fit?
Be certain that your shoes fit with room to wiggle your toes. Look inside your shoes before putting them on, in case there are any foreign objects hiding in there, such as gravel, that could cause sores or irritation. Wear clean well-fitting socks.
3. Toe The Line
Wash feet everyday and make sure that you dry them thoroughly. Inspect between your toes.
4. Nail Care
Always cut nails straight across and then smooth the edges with an emery board. For ease in cutting toenails, trim them after your bath or shower.
5. Do Not Self-Treat
See a podiatrist for corns, calluses or ingrown toenails. Do not attempt to self-treat these conditions.
6. Prevent Cracking
If your skin is dry, apply cream or petroleum jelly to feet and heels, but avoid the area between your toes. If cream sits in the crevices it can waterlog the skin and make it more susceptible to infection.
7. Keep Circulation Flowing
Try not to cross your legs when you sit down. This can limit circulation.
8. Keeping It Moderate
Protect your feet from extremes in temperature. Keep bath water temperate in the 85-90 F degree range (30-32 C). If neuropathy is present, you may not be able to feel if the water is too hot, and burns could result. Never use heating pads or hot water bottles. Protect your feet from temperatures that are too cold, as well. Prolonged cold can decrease circulation even more.
9. Pump It Up
Ask your healthcare professional about an exercise program that's right for you. Regular exercise improves circulation to all your extremities.
10. Last But Never Least
It's so important to practice preventative care like the tips listed here, every day. If you notice anything that does not look normal please follow up with your healthcare professional immediately. Also, for ultimate foot health, make sure that your healthcare professional assesses your feet at every routine visit.

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