Better Foot Health for Diabetics

– Dr. David G. Armstrong, DPM
Dr David Armstrong is Professor of Surgery at The University of Arizona Department of Surgery, Director of the Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance and the youngest ever podiatrist elected into the American Podiatric Medical Association Hall of Fame.

1. Inspect your feet daily for callus, corn, blisters, bleeding, redness, bleeding or lesions between toes. Use a mirror to see the bottom of the foot and the heel.

2. Have a family or friend check your feet if you are unable to do so.

3. Have regular foot examinations by your diabetic foot care specialist. Always remove footwear / shoes and socks when visiting your doctor.

4. Clean your feet daily, using warm – not hot – water and a mild soap. Avoid soaking your feet. Dry them with a soft towel and dry carefully between your toes.

5. Moisturize your feet with lotion, but avoid getting the lotion between your toes.

6. Each week or when needed, cut your toenails to the shape of your toes and file the edges with an emery board.

7. Add exercise, such as walking, to one’s daily routine to increase circulation to extremities.

8. Always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet from injuries.

9. Inspect the soles and inside your shoes for foreign objects before putting them on.

10. Shoes should be properly measured (by length and width) at the time of purchase, to be comfortable, easy to put on and to allow your toes to move freely.

11. Wear leather shoes with adequate room for the toes. Running or athletic shoes are best for recreational walking.

12. Change shoes every four to six hours.

13. Always wear well-fitted seamless socks with your shoes. Padded socks may reduce pressure and be more protective.

14. In cold weather, wear insulated boots or heavier socks. Be sure the shoes allow enough room to allow for heavier socks.

15. DO NOT walk barefooted in the house, outside, or anywhere.

16. DO NOT use hot water bottles or heating pads to warm your feet. Use warm socks instead.

17. DO NOT soak your feet.

18. DO NOT use acids or chemical corn removers.

19. DO NOT perform “bathroom surgery” on corns, calluses, or ingrown toenails.

20. Wash feet daily and be sure to dry well between the toes. Apply moisturizing cream liberally, but avoid between the toes.

21. Test the temperature of the bath water with your Elbow or Thermometer. DO NOT let hot water drip onto your toes.

22. Contact your foot care specialist immediately if you detect a new lesion or if your foot becomes swollen, red, or painful. Stay off your foot until you see your doctor.

23. Learn all you can about your diabetes and how it can affect your feet.

24. Maintain good diabetes control.

25. DO NOT smoke.

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