Appendix 13

Diabetes and Foot Care: A Checklist

DO:
  • check your feet every day for cuts, cracks, bruises, blisters, sores, infections or unusual markings.
  • use a mirror to see the bottom of your feet if you can’t lift them up.
  • check the colour of your legs and feet. If there is swelling, warmth or redness or if you have pain, see your doctor or foot specialist right away.
  • clean a cut or scratch with a mild soap and water and cover with a dry dressing for sensitive skin.
  • trim your nails straight across.
  • wash and dry your feet every day, especially between the toes.
  • apply a good skin lotion every day on your heels and soles. Wipe off any excess lotion.
  • change your socks every day.
  • wear a good supportive shoe.
  • wear professionally fitted shoes from a reputable store; professionally fitted orthotics may help.
  • choose shoes with low heels (under 5 cm high).
  • buy shoes in the late afternoon (since your feet swell slightly by then).
  • avoid extreme cold and heat (including the sun).
  • exercise regularly.
  • see a foot care specialist if you need advice or treatment.
DO NOT:
  • cut your own corns or calluses.
  • treat your own in-grown toenails or slivers with a razor or scissors; see your physician/nurse practitioner or foot care specialist.
  • use over-the-counter medications to treat corns and warts. They are dangerous for people with diabetes.
  • apply heat to your feet with a hot water bottle or electric blanket; you could burn your feet without realizing it.
  • soak your feet.
  • take very hot baths.
  • use lotion between your toes.
  • walk barefoot inside or outside.
  • wear tight socks, garters or elastics, or knee highs.
  • wear over-the-counter insoles – they can cause blisters if they are not right for your feet.
  • sit for long periods of time.
  • smoke.

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