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Feet self-care in diabetes

Regular inspection and self-care of the feet can prevent foot problems in diabetes.

Good self-management of diabetes includes feet self-care. It includes:

  • Inspecting your feet daily

  • Washing your feet daily

  • Applying moisturiser to your feet

  • Foot exercises

  • The skill to treat minor issues, such as sores, blisters and cuts

  • Suitable footwear and socks

Spotting minor issues or damage to the feet early enough helps avoid more serious foot problems.

Even minor sores and ulcerations should be taken seriously. Cuts should be treated immediately. If you find anything unusual (skin break, wound, redness around the nail, pain, swelling, redness) on your foot, do not strain it. If healing does not progress despite self-care, contact the agreed-upon care facility within a few days, or sooner if there are signs of inflammation in the foot, such as redness, swelling, or warmth, or if you develop a fever.

Check the tops of your feet, the soles, and between your toes. Observe the condition, colour, and temperature of the skin. Pay special attention to skin breaks and nail problems. You can use a mirror to help examine your feet. Check the insides of your shoes by hand. There should be no sharp seams felt in the shoes, and the insoles should be intact.

Daily foot checks are especially important for those who have been found to have reduced sensation.

Spray the feet with hand-warm water. Dry the foot and especially the spaces between the toes carefully with a towel.

Water washing is often sufficient. The water should be body temperature. Always dry between the toes thoroughly with a soft towel after washing to prevent the spaces between the toes from cracking.

Do not moisturise between the toes to prevent them from becoming macerated. Regular moisturising prevents the skin from drying out and in turn, the formation of calluses and cracks. Do not remove callus formations yourself with sandpaper or a sharp instrument.

Moisturise your feet daily.

The nail is of an appropriate length when the tip of the nail can be felt by pressing on the end of the toe. Sharp edges of the nail can be gently filed with a nail file.

When trimming nails, nail clippers can be used.

Walking barefoot should be avoided both indoors and outdoors. Walking barefoot exposes the skin to damage. If nerve changes have been detected in the feet, indoor footwear is recommended.

Foot exercises support the functions of the muscles and joints in the foot and toes. With the right exercises, you can prevent and correct lower limb deformities. Exercise programs are always tailored to the individual. Simple movements, such as extending and flexing the ankle, reduce swelling and are suitable for almost everyone.

Updated 25.10.2023