People with diabetes or those who lack sensation in their feet can develop foot problems that can become very serious quite quickly. People over age 60, those who have had a foot ulcer in the past, or diabetics who have had to undergo laser eye surgery, or have kidney disease, are more likely to develop foot ulcers. If you r foot structure has changed over times, you may have developed claw or hammer toes, or other body deformities that result in pressure areas if your shoes don’t fit properly. If you have poor circulation in your feet, or nerve damage to your feet or legs, or are diabetic, you need to take especially good care of your feet. However, proper foot care is important for everyone. The following tips may be helpful for anyone interested in taking proper care of their feet.
- Never go barefoot, either indoors or out
- Inspect your feet daily. Use a mirror and pay particular attention to your soles and between your toes. If you have difficulty doing this, ask a family member of a friend to help.
- Wash your feet daily. Test the water first with your hand or elbow to make sure that it is not too hot.
- If your feet become excessively dry, lubricate them. Spread a thin film of moisturizing cream or plain petroleum jelly on the soles of your feet while they are still damp after bathing. Take care not to get the cream between your toes.
- Don’t use garters or elastics to hold up stockings
- Don’t wear girdles that are tight around the legs
- Avoid exposing your feet to extreme temperatures
- Don’t walk on hot sand or pavement in the summer
- Protect your feet against sunburn with a sunscreen
- Check temperature of bath water before stepping in
- Never use hot water bottles or heating pads to warm cold feet. Wear socks in bed at night if your feet are cold
- Beware of car heaters on long trips
- Keep nails trim and cut straight across; don’t round corners
- Never cut corns or calluses yourself. However, with careful instruction from your physician, you can be taught how to smooth calluses using a pumice stone or emery board if they are not too thick.
- Never use commercial corn or callus removers, foot pads or arch supports.
- Don’t use adhesive tape on your feet.
- Don’t “ice-down” your feet if they feel hot.
- Don’t use hot or cold soaks for your feet.
- Keep toes clean and free of debris between them.
- Be sure to see your doctor or podiatrist for a foot inspection at least twice a year. Be sure they know if you are a diabetic.
- Notify your doctor or podiatrist promptly if you develop a blister, puncture or sore on your foot.
- If your doctor suggests that you need a cane or walker, use it safely.
- Don’t stand in one place for more than 15-20 minutes at a time without walking or flexing your calf muscles.
- Don’t place pillows under your knees in bed. If you want to elevate your legs, put the pillow under your entire lower leg.
- Don’t smoke. It constricts your blood vessels and limits the circulation to your feet.
- Follow your doctor’s advice to control cholesterol and high blood pressure if you have these health conditions. They can also affect your circulation.
- Get some exercise very day. Walking will increase circulation toy our legs and feet and help develop new, although smaller, blood vessels. If you have pain in your calf when walking fast, up an incline or on a hard surface, stopping to rest should help. Be sure to notify your doctor if you experience these problems.