A 10-step Checklist for Diabetics

Engaging in light exercise is just one of my top 10 tips for managing your diabetes!Anyone with diabetes needs to schedule regular check-ups with their podiatrist, but the self-care you perform in-between visits are just as crucial for maintaining your health. Here are my top 10 tips for maintaining your diabetic foot health at home:
  1. Check your feet daily for cuts, blisters, bruises, cracked skin, swelling and/or color changes. Use a mirror to inspect the soles of both your feet (ask a friend for help if you can’t see well.) Immediately report any changes to your doctor.
  2. Avoid walking barefoot, even around the house, to protect your feet from injury.
  3. Before putting on your shoes, carefully inspect them for any rough spots, stones or sharp edges that could hurt your feet. Don’t buy shoes with inside seams.
  4. Wear socks whenever possible to keep blisters at bay. Wash socks every day.
  5. Wash your feet with soap and water every day, making sure to clean between the toes as well. Always dry well afterwards.
  6. Moisturize your feet daily with a non-allergic cream or lotion. Pay special attention to your heels but skip the skin between your toes as the moisture could cause blisters.
  7. Invest in an orthotic device, especially if you have flat feet or other structural foot concerns.
  8. Engage in regular, gentle exercise. All programs should be approved by your doctor and footwear should be appropriate for your activity level.
  9. Test hot water with your elbow before submerging your feet—neuropathy may make your feet less sensitive to heat, leaving you vulnerable to burns.
  10. Quit smoking! Nicotine will impact blood flow, which can already be compromised by diabetes.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.