We all know how important it is for people with diabetes to take care of their feet. We asked one of our experts, podiatrist Anette Thompson, for some great foot care tips for diabetics:
These things will hurt your feet:
- Avoid pointy toed shoes, heels higher than 30mm, stiletto or thin narrow heel tips, avoid strapless or backless shoes, avoid slip-on shoes.
- Don’t wear tight socks or stockings
- When washing your feet be careful that the water is not hot enough to burn them.
- Avoid walking barefoot whenever possible. If this cannot be avoided because of cultural or religious reasons, use thick padded socks and be extremely careful to avoid sharp objects and the risk of burns from hot surfaces in hot climates.
- Never try to treat your own feet with corn medicines, razor blades or scissors. Always seek help from a medical professional if you have a problem.
- Avoid becoming overweight – see a dietician for help lose excess weight.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking damages the supply of blood to your feet.
- Don’t wear jewellery on your feet – you could cause a diabetic ulcer.
- Never leave wounds open, no matter how small – always keep covered with clean dressings.
- Never use a heater or hot water bottle to warm your feet.
Foot care tips for diabetics
- Check your feet daily for cuts, blisters, bruises or colour changes (red, white, black, blue, green – skin and toenails), swelling or open sores. Report them to your healthcare team without delay. Use a mirror to see the soles of your feet or, if this is difficult, seek help from someone else.
- Always protect your feet. Wear low heeled or flat, flexible footwear inside and outside your home to avoid injuring your feet. Shoes and sandals should fasten over the top of the foot as well as the back of the heel (either straps or closed); should have no rough edges or rough seams inside.
- Check inside your shoes with your hands for stones, sharp objects and rough places before putting your shoes on.
- Buy new shoes late in the day. Feet swell more towards the end of the day and your shoes will fit better and not too tight.
- Wearing socks can help prevent injury. Make sure they are not too tight and wash them daily. Make sure they have no holes. Dry socks and expose shoes to bright sunshine to assist fungal control.
- Always wash your feet with soap and water. Take care to wash between your toes. Dry your feet carefully, especially between the toes. Use heel balm to keep the soles of your feet soft and flexible. Do not use cream between toes as this can encourage fungal infection between the toes.
- Cut toenails straight across and file any sharp corners or edges. Never tear.
- Have your feet checked at least once a year by a podiatrist
- If you have pressure areas causing callus or hard skin or corns on your feet, you must see a podiatrist for treatment to avoid complications.
None of the information above is intended to replace the advice of your healthcare team.
Remember that even if foot problems are painless, they can still be serious.
Brought to you in the interests of foot health by:
Anette Thompson & Associates, Inc. Podiatrists
Berea, Durban, Durban North; Life Westville Hospital; Life Chatsmed Hospital; Shelly Beach Hospital; Merebank, Umkomaas
Telephone 031 201 9907 for appointments