General Illness Information
Care of Feet and Skin
Medical Term: Diabetic foot ulcers
Description: Because of impaired nerve supply and nerve involvement people with diabetes are more susceptible to have foot injuries and foot infections. In diabetes, care of feet is very important.
Causes: As above.
- Report the foot injuries and ulcers to your doctor promptly.
- Wash feet daily with soap and warm (not hot) water.
- Dry thoroughly and gently, especially between the toes.
- Powder the feet with talcum.
- When the feet are thoroughly dry, rub lanolin gently into the skin of the feet to keep the skin soft and free from scales and dryness.
- Do not cut corns or calluses or try to remove them with patent or other medicines.
- If toenails are brittle and dry, apply lanolin generously under and about the nails for a few nights after soaking.
- Cut nails carefully straight across.
- Do not cut on the sides of the nail or the cuticle.
- If you go to a podiatrist, foot specialist, or chiropodist, be sure to tell this doctor that you have diabetes.
- If your toes overlap or are pushed close together, separate them with lamb’s wool.
- Remove shoes for short periods when you can.
- Wear thin socks of cotton (not wool) to prevent moisture, which stimulates germs that cause athlete’s foot or other skin infections.
- Wear clean socks that you change at least once a day.
- Do not wear loose socks with raised seams.
- Do not wear bedroom slippers when you should wear shoes.
- Slippers do not give proper support.
- Do not step on the floor or go outside with bare feet.
- Wear shoes of soft leather, which fit but are not tight.
- Break in new shoes gradually 1 hour a day.
- Use cotton bed socks if you need extra warmth for your feet when you are in bed to sleep, but do not use hot-water bottles, or electric heating pads.
- Don’t burn the feet! Electric blankets are satisfactory.
- Do not wear garters or sit with legs crossed.
- Either will decrease circulation to the feet, and the circulation may already be less than normal because of the effects diabetes may have on your blood vessels.
Signs & Sypmtoms
- Diabetics often have no pain associated with infection or injury to the foot.
- Numbness and reduced sensation in feet.
- Sores or ulcers take unusually long to heal.
- Occasionally muscle weakness of legs and feet.
- Ingrown toenail.
- Plantar corn or callus; blisters.
- Poor fitting shoes.
- Foot injury.
Diagnosis & Treatment
See section on prevention.
Additional information available from the local chapter of the American Diabetes Association or call them at (800) 232-3472.
Specific drugs for infections may be prescribed.
Continue with regular activities unless foot problems interfere.
Follow prescribed diet.
Possible Complications :
Serious foot infections, gangrene and amputation.
Using preventive measures and seeking early treatment of infections should avoid serious complications.