Take These Steps to Care for Your Feet

feetThis month is Limb Loss Awareness Month, so it’s a good time to discuss simple steps people with diabetes can take to keep their feet healthy and prevent amputations.

People with diabetes are more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people because they can develop a variety of foot problems, sometimes even simple ones that can lead to serious complications. The reason? Many people with diabetes have blood vessel disease, which reduces blood flow to the feet. They may also have nerve disease, called neuropathy, which reduces sensation and makes it harder to tell when something is wrong with their feet. People with diabetes can injure their feet, and not know it or get treatment, causing the problem to worsen. Together, these problems make it easy to get ulcers and infections that can lead to amputation.

The good news is that most amputations are preventable and most people can avoid serious foot troubles by following a few simple steps. By making foot care part of your health routine, you can Stop Diabetes® from knocking you off your feet.

This means taking simple steps every day, like not going barefoot, checking your feet every time you take your shoes off and, if you have a problem, seeing your health care provider right away. Your health care provider can teach you proper foot care and should conduct a thorough check of your feet at least once a year.

April is also National Minority Health Month, and part of the American Diabetes Association’s important collaboration with the Office of Minority Health is working to reduce the number of amputations due to diabetes in minority populations, which experience higher rates of lower-extremity amputations. The focus of the collaboration is on increasing awareness about proper foot care and helping patients with diabetes access the care they need to stay healthy.

When living with diabetes, it is vital to make foot care part of your health routine. The Association has many resources available to help. If you are a health care professional and are interested in learning more about the tools available, please visit our Health Professionals Resource webpage.

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10 Responses to Take These Steps to Care for Your Feet

  1. wilma perry says:

    what lotion can I use for dry cracked skin on my feet

    • American Diabetes Association says:

      Wilma, standard skin lotion is OK, but don’t put it between your toes. The extra moisture there can encourage fungus to grow.

    • Donna Petry says:

      Ms. Perry,

      I use vaseline this way I don’t have to worry about the loiton having too much of a fragrance or any chemicals in it that might bother my skin.

  2. Laura Langley says:

    Is it safe to get pedicures?

  3. dave johnson says:

    What are the best shoes for diabetics to wear?( not diabetic shoes?. Any particular brand of/athletic shoe?

    • American Diabetes Association says:

      Hi Dave, the most important thing is that your shoes be sturdy, comfortable, well-fitting, and that they properly protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them to make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.

  4. Phil says:

    Just having had a below-the-knee amputation six months ago, I can testify to the importance of proper foot care. By the time I discovered the ulcer under my left pinkie toe, where it was most difficult to see, it was too late. Had the toe amputated, but ultimately the infection spread to the rest of the foot.

    Pay close attention to the care of your feet, and get to a doctor or emergent care facility immediately if you have anything wrong. You have no idea how much mobility you take for granted until you lose a foot (or two).

  5. Pingback: Limb Loss Awareness | Black Elder Care

  6. These steps are a must to follow! Most people with diabetic neuropathy have no symptoms and are unaware that they have the condition, so annual check-ups are essential.

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