Diabetes And Foot Care

Proper foot care can help your loved one avoid some of the most common complications of diabetes.

Foot Care Tips

Among the problems that plague people with diabetes is the onset of nerve disease in the lower extremities, which can lead to amputation. As a caregiver, you should help your loved one follow these 12 preventive-care steps.

  1. Encourage your loved one to keep his or her blood sugar within a good range by following his or her doctor’s advice.
  2. Encourage a routine of checking his or her feet top and bottom every day; looking for cuts, blisters, red spots, and swelling.
  3. A daily regimen should include washing your loved one’s feet in warm—not hot—water and drying them well, including between the toes.
  4. The skin can be kept soft and smooth by rubbing a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your loved one’s feet, but not between the toes.
  5. A pumice stone can be used to gently smooth corns and calluses.
  6. Trim toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.
  7. Discourage your loved one from walking barefoot. Check to see that he or she has comfortable shoes and socks that fit well and protect the feet.
  8. Feet need to be protected from hot and cold, by wearing shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Socks may be worn at night to avoid cold feet.
  9. To keep the blood flowing, your loved one should put his or her feet up when sitting. Encourage him or her to practice wiggling his or her toes and moving the ankles up and down for 5 minutes, two or three times a day. Crossing the legs for long periods is bad for the circulation.
  10.  Encourage your loved one to talk with a doctor about a physical activity program that he or she can enjoy and maintain.
  11.  It is wise to have your loved one’s doctor check his or her bare feet and find out whether he or she is likely to have serious foot problems. Remember that your loved one may not feel the pain of an injury. Call the doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister, or bruise on your loved one’s foot does not begin to heal after one day. Follow their doctor's advice about foot care.
  12.  There’s no better time to begin than now—by setting a time every day to check your loved one’s feet and following these 12 steps.

Adapted from Foot Care Tips to Help You Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime. NIH Publication No. 98-4285. The National Institutes of Health National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases.

You are in the
Click for related topics:
Heart Disease, HIV/AIDS 
and more...

Caregivers Handbook

This handy guide provides resources, checklists and worksheets
 - all in one place.