How can I protect my feet from sores if I have peripheral artery disease?

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If you have peripheral artery disease (PAD), protecting your feet from sores will be a critical part of working to avoid serious complications. PAD is a condition in which you have blockages in the arteries that lead to the limbs or to the kidneys (the latter is more specifically referred to as renal artery stenosis). If you have PAD, diabetes, or both, potential serious foot problems include the loss of a toe, foot, or leg to amputation. You can work to prevent these problems by taking care of your feet every day.
  • Wear shoes and socks at all times, even indoors. To avoid the possibility of sores or blisters, choose shoes that fit well and socks that are seamless or have flat or soft seams. Be sure to check for pebbles or rough edges in your shoes before putting them on. If you have lost feeling in your feet due to diabetes and PAD, you may not be able to feel if something is not right in your shoes.
  • Make sure your shoes fit properly. You may need to work with a shoe expert to ensure that you have the correct size shoe if you have lost feeling in your feet. If you wear special inserts for your shoes, take them along when you are being fitted to make sure there is ample room for your toes in your new shoes. Avoid blisters by breaking in new shoes gradually. Wear them for only a few hours a day at first.
  • Keep your feet warm - but not too warm. Wear socks to bed if your feet are cold. Always wear shoes on hot pavement and at the beach. If you have diabetes, use your arm or hand - not your feet - to test the temperature of water. If you have lost feeling in your feet, you may not realize the water is too hot and you may be burned.
  • Keep blood flowing to your feet. When sitting, put your feet up. Wiggle your feet and toes. Avoid crossing your legs for long periods. And quit smoking. Using cigarettes or other tobacco products causes the blood vessels to narrow, which reduces blood flow. In fact, smokers have three times the risk of developing PAD.
  • Be active. Get moving and be active every day. Make sure to wear athletic shoes that fit well and provide good support. Walking, biking, swimming and dancing are good activities that are easy on the feet. Running, jumping and other activities that are hard on the feet are best avoided.

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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.