Tips for Protecting Diabetic Feet
When it comes to diabetic foot care, a few minor lifestyle adjustments and a couple of minutes of TLC per day can shift your long-term prognosis dramatically. We’re not exaggerating when we say that taking diabetic foot care seriously can extend the length and quality of your life by a significant amount. It could be the difference between a lower limb amputation in your 40s or 50s on the one hand, or remaining healthy and active into your 70s and 80s on the other.
In addition to general health advice—eat right, exercise regularly, maintain healthy sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.—here are 7 specific tips to help keep your diabetic feet as safe and healthy as possible:
- Perform a daily self-exam. You won’t always be able to “feel” when there’s a problem, especially if you have neuropathy. Check your entire foot (using a mirror if necessary) for cuts, cracks, sores, discoloration, tenderness, swelling, blisters—anything out of the ordinary. Any problems that don’t improve within a few days should trigger an appointment with a foot specialist.
- Don’t go barefoot, even indoors. We recommend closed toed shoes as much as possible, including water shoes for the beach or swimming pool. This will help you avoid accidental injury, or burns from hot sand or pavement.
- Make sure your shoes and socks fit properly and offer all the support, cushioning, breathability, and wiggle room you need. Avoid shoes or socks with interior seams that could snag or scratch your skin. Generally we recommend that you get fitted for your own diabetic shoes and custom orthotics, especially if you have a history of foot problems.
- Before putting your shoes on, check the inside for loose objects or rough patches (such as a torn lining) that could irritate your skin.
- Keep a tidy home. Walkways should be clear of trip or stub hazards like loose cords, low objections, or other clutter.
- Wash your feet every day with warm water. Make sure you test your shower or bath water carefully before you bathe. Use a thermometer or test the temperature with your elbow. Dry thoroughly and apply lotion afterward.
- Get a diabetic foot checkup from our office at least once per year. Symptoms of neurological and vascular complications often do not become apparent until after extensive damage is already done, but simple screening tests can detect them early and allow you to prevent further progression.
Protecting your feet properly can add years of healthy, happy, active living to your lifespan, so you can be there for your friends, your family, and yourself. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the office closest to you:
- Rego Park: (718) 896-4433
- Plainview: (516) 822-9595
- Flushing: (718) 969-2266