What can I do myself?
Check your feet every day. You may have foot problems but feel no pain in your feet. Checking your feet each day will help you spot problems early before they get worse. A good way to remember is to check your feet each evening when you take off your shoes. Also check between your toes. If you have trouble bending over to see your feet, try using a mirror to see them, or ask someone else to look at your feet. Look for problems such as fluid or coloured liquid coming either from your feet, or on your sock. There may be colour changes (red/purple/paler blacker than normal) the foot may become swollen or there may be an unusual odour. Part or all your foot feels much hotter or colder than usual. Cover any blisters, cuts, or sores with a clean plaster or bandage.
Wash your feet every day
Wash your feet with soap in warm, not hot, water. Test the water to make sure it is not too hot. You can use a thermometer (90° to 95° F is safe) or your elbow to test the warmth of the water. Do not soak your feet because your skin will get too dry.
After washing and drying your feet, put talcum powder or cornstarch between your toes. Skin between the toes tends to stay moist. Powder will keep the skin dry to help prevent an infection.
Smooth corns and calluses using only a sandpaper type foot file, never anything else (e.g. corn plasters). Always consult professional about removal of corns and callouses. If you have nerve damage, these patches can become ulcers.
To keep your skin smooth and soft, rub a thin coat of lotion, cream, or petroleum jelly on the tops and bottoms of your feet. Do not put lotion or cream between your toes because moistness might cause an infection.
Trim your toenails straight across
Trim your toenails, when needed, after you wash and dry your feet. Using toenail clippers, trim your toenails straight across. Do not cut into the corners of your toenail. Gently smooth each nail with an emery board or blunt nail file. Trimming this way helps prevent cutting your skin and keeps the nails from growing into your skin.
If you are having trouble cutting your toe-nails it may be safer to let the professional do it particularly if you cannot see, feel, or reach your feet, your toenails are thick or yellowed, your nails curve and grow into the skin.
Wear shoes and socks always
Wear shoes and socks always. Do not walk barefoot or in just socks – even when you are indoors. You could step on something and hurt your feet. You may not feel any pain and may not know that you hurt yourself.
Check the inside of your shoes before putting them on, to make sure the lining is smooth and free of pebbles or other objects.
Make sure you wear socks, stockings, or nylons with your shoes to keep from getting blisters and sores. Choose clean, lightly padded socks that fit well. Socks with no seams are best.
Wear shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Here are some tips for finding the right type of shoes:
Walking shoes and athletic shoes are good for daily wear. They support your feet and allow them to “breathe.”
Do not wear vinyl or plastic shoes, because they do not stretch or “breathe.”
When buying shoes, make sure they feel good and have enough room for your toes. Buy shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are the largest, so that you can find the best fit.
If you have a bunion, or hammertoes, which are toes that curl under your feet, you may need extra-wide or deep shoes. Do not wear shoes with pointed toes or high heels, because they put too much pressure on your toes.
If your feet have changed shape, such as from Charcot’s foot, you may need special shoes or shoe inserts, called orthotics. You also may need inserts if you have bunions, hammertoes, or other foot problems.
When breaking in new shoes, only wear them for a few hours at first and then check your feet for areas of soreness.
Protect your feet from hot and cold
If you have nerve damage from diabetes, you may burn your feet and not know you did. Take the following steps to protect your feet from heat:
Wear shoes at the beach and on hot pavement.
Put sunscreen on the tops of your feet to prevent sunburn.
Keep your feet away from heaters and open fires.
Do not put a hot water bottle or heating pad on your feet.
Wear socks in bed if your feet get cold. In the winter, wear lined, waterproof boots to keep your feet warm and dry.
Keep the blood flowing to your feet
Try the following tips to improve blood flow to your feet:
Put your feet up when you are sitting.
Wiggle your toes for a few minutes throughout the day. Move your ankles up and down and in and out to help blood flow in your feet and legs.
Do not wear tight socks or elastic stockings. Do not try to hold up loose socks with rubber bands.
Be more physically active. Choose activities that are easy on your feet, such as walking, dancing, yoga or stretching, swimming, or bike riding.
Stop smoking. Smoking can lower the amount of blood flow to your feet