Every person with diabetes should have a complete foot exam at least once a year. The exam should include:
· Checking the pulses of your feet to see if there is a circulation problem.
· Checking the nerve functions of your feet using a filament.
· Evaluating any problems such as bunions, corns, athlete’s feet, fungal nails, ingrown toenails.
· A discussion of of foot care.
Take care of your feet every day:
· Check your feet every day for sores, calluses, red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone to check your feet for you.
· Call your health care provider, no matter how small your wound. A small cut can quickly become large and infected.
· Do not cut calluses or corns yourself. See your health care provider if cutting is needed.
· Wash your feet every day. Dry them carefully, especially between your toes.
· Use skin cream (but not between your toes) if your feet are dry.
· Cut toenails straight across. File the edges so they are smooth. If you have trouble reaching your feet, ask a family member to cut your nails.
· Don’t walk barefoot.
· Don’t smoke! Smoking cuts off blood flow.
Choose comfortable shoes that fit well:
· Choose shoes with a low heel and plenty of room for your toes.
· Choose leather dress shoes; for everyday wear, walking or running shoes are a good choice.
· Break in new shoes slowly.
· Check inside your shoes for stones or other objects before putting them on.
· Wear clean padded socks to protect your feet.
Keep your diabetes under control. High blood sugar levels are behind most foot problems of people with diabetes.
Karen Halderson, MPH, RD, LD CDE Extension Diabetes Coordinator
Adapted from materials from the American Diabetes Associaton