Keep your feet healthy
Work with your health care team to make a diabetes self-care plan, which is an action plan for how you will manage your diabetes. Your plan should include foot care. A foot doctor, also called a podiatrist, and other specialists may be part of your health care team.
Tips to Take Care of Your Feet
- Check your feet every day.
- Wash your feet every day.
- Smooth corns and calluses gently.
- Trim your toenails straight across.
- Wear shoes and socks at all times.
- Protect your feet from hot and cold.
- Keep the blood flowing to your feet.
- Get a foot check at every health care visit.
Check your feet every day
You may have foot problems, but feel no pain in your feet. Checking your feet each day will help you spot problems early before they get worse. A good way to remember is to check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes. Also check between your toes. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, try using a mirror to see them, or ask someone else to look at your feet.
Look for problems such as
- cuts, sores, or red spots
- swelling or fluid-filled blisters
- ingrown toenails, in which the edge of your nail grows into your skin
- corns or calluses, which are spots of rough skin caused by too much rubbing or pressure on the same spot
- plantar warts, which are flesh-colored growths on the bottom of the feet
- athlete’s foot
- warm spots
If you have certain foot problems that make it more likely you will develop a sore on your foot, your doctor may recommend taking the temperature of the skin on different parts of your feet. A “hot spot” can be the first sign that a blister or an ulcer is starting.
Cover a blister, cut, or sore with a bandage. Smooth corns and calluses as explained below.
Wash your feet every day
Wash your feet with soap in warm, not hot, water. Test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You can use a thermometer (90° to 95° F is safe) or your elbow to test the warmth of the water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get too dry.
After washing and drying your feet, put talcum powder or cornstarch between your toes. Skin between the toes tends to stay moist. Powder will keep the skin dry to help prevent an infection.
Smooth corns and calluses gently
Thick patches of skin called corns or calluses can grow on the feet. If you have corns or calluses, talk with your foot doctor about the best way to care for these foot problems. If you have nerve damage, these patches can become ulcers.
- cut corns and calluses
- use corn plasters, which are medicated pads
- use liquid corn and callus removers
Cutting and over-the counter corn removal products can damage your skin and cause an infection.
To keep your skin smooth and soft, rub a thin coat of lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Do not put lotion or cream between your toes because moistness might cause an infection.
Trim your toenails straight across
Trim your toenails, when needed, after you wash and dry your feet. Using toenail clippers, trim your toenails straight across. Do not cut into the corners of your toenail. Gently smooth each nail with an emery board or nonsharp nail file. Trimming this way helps prevent cutting your skin and keeps the nails from growing into your skin.
Protect you feet at all times
Do not walk barefoot or in just socks – even when you are indoors. You could step on something and hurt your feet. You may not feel any pain and may not know that you hurt yourself.Check the inside of your shoes before putting them on, to make sure the lining is smooth and free of pebbles or other objects.