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4 Tips For Foot Care When You Have Diabetes

The experts at the Joslin-Beth Israel Deaconess Foot Center provide superior, cutting-edge care to patients with diabetes, and can help reduce your problems and improve the long-term health of your feet.

For people with diabetes, practicing proper foot care is an important step towards successful diabetes management.

According to Joslin Clinic's Dr. Richard A. Jackson, one in four people with diabetes will develop foot complications. That means that making foot care a part of your daily diabetes regimen is essential for avoiding serious complications such as neuropathy, vascular disease, and injury. When it comes to implementing a comprehensive foot care plan, a little effort goes a long way in preventing problems.

Inspect. Check your feet two times a day, ideally in the morning and at night before you go to bed. Look for anything out of the ordinary, such as areas of redness, blisters, or cuts. If you discover a wound, treat it and cover it with a bandage immediately. Pay close attention to the wound during subsequent foot inspections to be certain it is healing properly.

Protect. Washing your feet every day with mild soap in tepid—not hot—water is your first line of defense against problems with your feet. After washing, dry your feet thoroughly and apply a lotion made for people with diabetes, or one that your doctor has approved. Moisturizing your feet will protect against the creation of fissures in the skin, which can serve as a breeding ground for infection.

Prevent. Elevated blood glucose (blood sugars) puts people with diabetes at risk for neuropathy, or nerve damage, which can cause loss of sensation in the feet, leading to other serious complications. Good control will help you prevent these complications. You can also reduce or even prevent the risk of injury to your feet by selecting comfortable footwear.

Consult. If you are very physically active or if you have other foot problems, it is important to find a doctor to examine your feet on a regular basis to avoid any complications that may arise. All other patients with diabetes must have a foot exam at least once a year, according to Dr. Jackson.

Page last updated: September 30, 2014