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Prevention Is the Most Effective Treatment for Diabetic Foot Conditions

Simple steps to inspect and care for your feet proactively help prevent skin damage that can lead to ulcers and amputations.

Check your feet regularly

Check your feet, including tops, bottoms, sides, toenails and between the toes, at least once daily. If you have trouble seeing the bottoms or sides of your feet, use a mirror that allows you to see your whole foot. While checking, look and feel for bumps, lumps, blisters, bruises, cuts, sores, cracked skin or ingrown toenails. Even the tiniest crack can become infected. Notice any pain, tingling or numbness, as these symptoms can indicate nerve problems. If you experience any of these signs, seek medical care immediately. See a podiatrist for regular foot examinations and foot care, and encourage your primary care physician to check your feet during regular examinations.

Take good care of your feet

Wash your feet daily using lukewarm (never hot) water and use an elbow to test temperature beforehand.  After washing, dry feet thoroughly and keep them supple by applying lotion (on the tops and bottoms only). If you have neuropathy or other diabetic foot problems, don’t attempt to cut toenails or cut and file calluses. Instead, see a podiatrist or footcare nurse regularly for toenail care. Additionally, never use wart removers or other harsh chemicals.

Wear properly selected and fitted padded socks with well-made shoes and any inserts or orthotics prescribed by a medical professional.  Padded socks can help prevent injuries to the skin or soft tissue of the foot, which is a major cause of diabetic ulcerations.  Components properly fitted as a system — padded socks, insert/orthotic, shoes provide better protection. Don’t wear the same pair of shoes every day and, if possible, rotate at least two pairs. Change your padded socks daily, but switch them more often if you’re active. Check inside shoes every day for sharp points, sharp edges, seams or other rough areas, as well as foreign objects that may lead to wounds or abrasions on your feet.

Remember to move around

Don’t cross your legs for extended periods, as this can reduce blood flow and create pressure points. Likewise, don’t sit for more than an hour or two without changing positions. Try to walk as much as possible, because doing so enhances circulation to the feet and helps with weight and blood sugar control.

Following these suggestions can help reduce your risk significantly for ulceration andamputation. Help prevent potential trouble by staying aware of your foot health.

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