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Living Well with Diabetes

Chapter 6: Maintaining Your Overall Health Foot Care Over time, diabetes can affect nerves and blood vessels that supply the legs and feet. This means you may not be able to feel if you have a cut or infection. Wounds on your feet may be slow to heal, and may infect easily. Because of this, you need to pay close attention to your feet. Check them daily. Ask a family member for help if you have trouble seeing your feet, especially the bottoms. If you have problems with your feet, you should have your feet examined every time you see your health care provider. PLAY VIDEO Foot Care Preventing Foot Problems Here’s what you can do to help prevent serious health problems with your feet: • Inspect your feet every day for cuts, cracks, sores, redness, or swelling. Watch for cuts and scrapes that are slow to heal, itch, feel warm, ooze fluid, or smell bad. If you notice any of these problems, contact your health care provider right away. He or she may refer you to a podiatrist (a specialist in foot health). • Keep your feet clean and protect them from injury. Wash your feet in warm (not hot) water and dry thoroughly, especially between toes. • Don’t soak your feet. • Do not go barefoot, and always wear clean socks and comfortable shoes that protect your feet. • Do not trim any corns or calluses. Talk to your health care provider if you need help cutting and filing your toenails safely. • Look for color changes in your feet (redness with streaks can signal a severe infection). • The American Diabetes Association recommends that you have a thorough foot exam at least once a year. If you have problems with your feet, such as loss of feeling, foot deformities, or a history of foot ulcers, you should have your feet examined at every office visit. 52


Living Well with Diabetes
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