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Tips for Protecting Your Feet When You Have Diabetes

Updated: Jan 15

Diabetes can damage your nerves and cause you to lose blood flow in your feet, leaving you at risk for foot problems such as ulcers, bunions, and infections. These conditions can have drastic consequences, such as losing toes or other parts of your feet and requiring a toe plug or toe filler to walk safely. If you’ve already reached that point, then you know how important foot care is. To keep yourself from getting there, you need to properly care for your feet. Keep reading these tips for protecting your feet when you have diabetes to keep them as healthy as possible.

Daily To-Dos

There are several things you should do every day to help protect your feet. Wash and dry them every day using warm water and mild soap, and pat them dry. Apply lotion and nonmedicated powder afterward to keep your feet hydrated and dry. Throughout this process, or at another point in the day, check your feet for cracks, cuts, or sores. Consult a doctor if you notice changes in color, extreme cracking, blisters, tenderness, or other worrisome problems. While some problems, such as blisters, can be handled with a bandage and a different pair of shoes, others can be more serious, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

You should also be doing low-impact exercises every day. Regular movement can help blood flow, but keep in mind that certain exercises that strain your feet, such as aerobics, can cause more harm than good. Consult with your doctor about which exercises they think are best for you.

Shopping To-Dos

Another important item on your to-do list is buying the right equipment to protect your feet. When shoe shopping, make sure the shoe is a half inch longer than your longest toe and at least as wide as your foot but not wide enough to rub and cause blisters. This is true for orthopedic shoes and other kinds of shoes. Regardless of the type of shoe, stick to closed-toe and closed-heel shoes with a tough outside and soft inside, ideally with a cushioned sole.

You should also buy the right socks to go with these shoes. Look for diabetic or compression socks with stretchy cuffs, moisture-wicking material, and a snug fit that won’t wrinkle, bunch, or slip off your heel. If socks become damp due to sweat or weather conditions, remove them as soon as possible and dry your feet, as moist skin is more prone to infections.

Doctor To-Dos

Seeing your doctor regularly is an important part of protecting your feet. Keep a log of any changes you see or feel in your feet and discuss these changes with your doctor during appointments. Take time to see a podiatrist, not just your regular doctor, as they can provide specialized foot treatments—this is especially helpful for bunions, corns, and other foot problems. Doctors and podiatrists are great resources, so make sure to see them regularly.

These are just a few tips for protecting your feet when you have diabetes, but they are important suggestions that will help you take better care of your feet. Keep up with these daily to-dos, buy the right equipment, and regularly consult your doctor to keep your feet as healthy as possible.

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