A 10-step Checklist for Diabetics
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:
- 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.
- Avoid walking barefoot, even around the house, to protect your feet from injury.
- 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.
- Wear socks whenever possible to keep blisters at bay. Wash socks every day.
- Wash your feet with soap and water every day, making sure to clean between the toes as well. Always dry well afterwards.
- 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.
- Invest in an orthotic device, especially if you have flat feet or other structural foot concerns.
- Engage in regular, gentle exercise. All programs should be approved by your doctor and footwear should be appropriate for your activity level.
- Test hot water with your elbow before submerging your feet—neuropathy may make your feet less sensitive to heat, leaving you vulnerable to burns.
- Quit smoking! Nicotine will impact blood flow, which can already be compromised by diabetes.