4 Tips for Practicing Diabetic Foot Care at Home

Jun 02, 2023

4 Tips for Practicing Diabetic Foot Care at Home
One of the clear and present dangers when you have a diabetes diagnosis is problems with your foot health. To avoid serious infection and amputation, we urge you to follow these at-home practices.

We hesitate to use scare tactics to get your attention, but we feel it’s important when you have diabetes. Of the more than 37 million people who have diabetes in the United States, up to half will develop peripheral neuropathy, which is nerve damage, especially in their feet and lower limbs. 

This nerve damage can not only cause considerable pain, it can also lead to treatment-resistant infections that drive some 130,000 amputations in people with diabetes each year.

To help you prevent this incredibly serious and life-changing outcome, the team of orthopedic surgeons here at Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgery Specialists pulled together a few best practices for diabetic foot care at home.

Before we get started — manage your diabetes

We want to underscore that, above all else, it’s paramount that you manage your blood sugar levels. The tips we provide below apply especially to your feet, but nothing is more important than managing your diabetes so you can prevent the cascade of foot issues that stem from chronic high blood sugar and lead to damaged nerves in your feet.

1. Inspect your feet every day

It’s a great idea to inspect your feet each day when you have diabetes, and we recommend doing so at the end of the day, before you go to bed. If you’ve developed peripheral neuropathy, you may lose sensation in your feet and not realize that you have an open wound, such as an ulcer, cut, or burst blister.

Even the smallest issue, such as an infected ingrown toenail, can turn into a nightmare if the infection spreads. Through a daily inspection of your feet, you can take swift action when there’s a problem.

2. Wear comfortable, roomy shoes

The threat of complications in your feet when you have diabetes should be motivation enough to ditch the high heels or pointy-toed shoes for footwear that allows your feet and toes to spread out comfortably.

We promise you that there are plenty of shoes that can check both style and function boxes, and you can also use custom orthotics to turn most shoes into comfortable, supportive ones.

On a side note, we also advise against going barefoot. We know we live near the ocean, but remember that any small cut can be problematic so we urge you to wear sandals or reef shoes.

3. Get moving

One of the best things you can do to prevent peripheral neuropathy, improve circulation, and regulate blood sugar levels is to exercise. Grab a comfortable pair of sneakers with shoe inserts and go out for a walk or run. Even if you take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood two times a day, this exercise is extremely beneficial for your feet and your overall health.

4. Practice good foot hygiene

When it comes to keeping your feet clean and tidy, there are a few rules of thumb for people with diabetes, including:

  • Wash with warm water only, never hot water
  • Dry your feet completely
  • Trim your toenails carefully and straight across
  • Put on dry socks immediately after

If you have corns or calluses, please don’t treat these on your own by performing “bathroom surgery.” Instead, come see us and we can quickly and safely remedy the foot issue.

We want you to know that our team is here for any foot issue. If, despite your best efforts, you develop a foot ulcer or any other wound, please see us right away. Our diabetes experts can debride your wound, remove infected tissue, and do whatever else we can to prevent the infection from spreading.

For skilled diabetic foot care, call one of our offices in the greater Los Angeles, California, area. We have offices in Glendale, Wilshire, East LA, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera, Encino, Newhall, Montebello, and Tarzana. You can also schedule an appointment for a consultation online.