How should people with diabetes and PAD take care of their feet?

The combination of diabetes and peripheral artery disease (PAD) makes you extremely vulnerable to developing serious foot problems. Your doctor will want to examine your feet every time you come in for a checkup. You, too, should be sure proper foot care is a part of your daily routine to prevent serious foot problems from getting out of control and requiring amputation of a toe, foot or lower leg.

 1. Wash your feet each day. Use warm water and mild soap. Dry gently but well, making sure to dry between your toes.

 2. Keep the skin on your feet supple and soft. Apply cream or lotion (that does not contain alcohol, which can be drying) over the tops and bottoms of your feet. Do not use between your toes.

 3. Check your feet every day for sores, cuts, breaks in the skin, red spots, swelling, corns, calluses and blisters, ingrown toe nails, dry skin, bumps and hot and cold spots. Use a mirror, or ask a friend, to help if you have trouble seeing the bottoms and sides of your feet.

 4. Trim toenails straight across and file the edges to prevent ingrown toenails. If you are not able to trim them because they are hard and thick, or for other reasons, ask your doctor to refer you to a foot care provider who specializes in working with people with diabetes or other foot and leg problems.

 5. If you find any problems with your feet, call your doctor. Do not try to treat them yourself. Some foot care products can harm your skin and make your problems worse.

 6. Wear comfortable shoes with good soles.

 7. Try to avoid exercise in extremes of weather (too hot or too cold).

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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.