How can I keep my feet healthy if I have diabetes?

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If you have diabetes, you can do a number of things to keep your feet healthy. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Take care of your diabetes. Work to keep your blood glucose within your target range. High blood glucose levels make it hard to heal wounds and fight infection.
  • Check your feet every day. Look for red spots, cuts, swelling and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help. Set aside a specified time every day to do this, whether it is in the morning or before you go to bed.
  • Be more active. Exercise is good for circulation and stimulates blood flow in the legs and feet. Walk in sturdy, good-fitting, comfortable shoes—but don’t walk when you have open sores.
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. If the shape of your feet has changed, do not try to squeeze into old shoes—you may need a new pair. Therapeutic shoes may help for comfort and protection, so check with your doctor.
  • Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for five minutes, two or three times a day. Don’t cross your legs for long periods of time. Don’t sit for extended periods. If you don’t have sores, get up and walk around periodically.
  • Take your foot care seriously. Wash your feet every day with warm (not hot) water, and dry them carefully. To avoid cracked skin and calluses, apply lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet—but never between your toes, where the added moisture can cause problems.
  • Seek medical care. If you discover a foot problem that does not heal within a few days, do not try to treat it yourself. Seek professional advice as soon as possible for the best possible outcome. Trying to solve the problem yourself with hydrogen peroxide, whirlpools and soaking is not recommended, as these practices could lead to further complications.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking affects the small blood vessels and can cause decreased blood flow to the feet, making it difficult for wounds to heal.

This content originally appeared online at Baptist Health South Florida: https://baptisthealth.net/baptist-health-news/proper-foot-care-can-help-diabetics-avoid-complications/?cat=research

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.