Our feet really take the brunt of all our activities in life, whether at the gym or having to carry those few extra pounds we gained over the winter. But with a few practical guidelines, our feet can be healthy for a lifetime.
1. Keep your blood sugars in a manageable range (not always so easy). Having elevated blood sugars puts our feet at increased risk for infection and skin breakdown. If a person has a blister or ingrown toenail or foot injury, elevated blood sugars will increase the risk of infection.
2. Check your feet daily. Right after you hop out of the shower or bath, dry them thoroughly with a clean towel, making sure to get between the toes. Make sure there are no ingrown toenails or blisters. Also check for swelling or callouses.
3. Lotion, lotion, lotion. The only place not to use lotion is between your toes.
4. Always wear well-fitting shoes. Do not wear footgear that has worn out and is no longer supporting your feet. Always wear clean, dry socks. Do not go barefoot, even in your own home. Accidents involving the feet are most likely going to happen right at home.
5. In the cold weather, be careful to wear proper footgear. To prevent frostbite, make sure you are not staying too long in the cold.
6. Keep your toenails trimmed, but not too short, cutting the nails straight across to prevent ingrown toenails. Do not scrape callouses. If using a loofah or pumice stone, do not get too aggressive. (Gently work it in one direction, not back and forth.)
7. Have your provider check your feet thoroughly at least yearly during your physical. If you have a blister or sore on your foot that is not healing, make an appointment to have your provider see it right away.
Show a little love toward your feet, and you will have feet to last a lifetime. If you or a family member have diabetes, it is easy to arrange a visit to Altru’s Diabetes Center. Talk with your provider and ask for a referral, or call 701.780.1838 for more information.