Do wash feet daily. Using mild soap and lukewarm water, wash your feet in the mornings or before bed each evening. Dry carefully with a soft towel, especially between the toes, and dust your feet with talcum powder to wick away moisture. If the skin is dry, use a good moisturizing cream daily, but avoid getting it between the toes.
Do inspect feet and toes daily. Check your feet every day for cuts, bruises, sores or other changes that may be less obvious. If age or other factors hamper self-inspection, ask someone to help you or use a mirror.
Do lose weight. People with diabetes are commonly overweight, which nearly doubles the risk of complications.
Do wear thick, soft socks. Socks made of an acrylic blend are well suited, but avoid mended socks or those with seams, which could rub to cause blisters or other skin injuries.
Do give up smoking. Tobacco can contribute to circulatory problems, which can be especially troublesome in patients with diabetes.
Do cut toenails straight across. Never cut into the corners, or taper, which could trigger an ingrown toenail. Use an emery board to gently file away sharp corners or snags.
Do exercise. As a means to keep weight down and improve circulation, walking is one of the best all-around exercises for the diabetic patient. Walking is also an excellent conditioner for your feet. Be sure to wear the appropriate athletic shoe when exercising. Ask your podiatric physician what's best for you.
Do see your podiatric physician. Regular checkups by your podiatric physician — at least annually — is the best way to ensure that your feet remain healthy.
Do get properly measured and fitted every time you buy new shoes. Shoes are of supreme importance to diabetes sufferers because poorly fitted shoes are involved in as many as half of the problems that lead to amputations. Because foot size and shape may change over time, everyone should have their feet measured by an experienced shoe fitter whenever they buy a new pair of shoes.
Do wear proper shoes. New shoes should be comfortable at the time they're purchased and should not require a "break-in" period, though it's a good idea to wear them for short periods of time at first. Shoes should have leather or canvas uppers, fit both the length and width of the foot, leave room for toes to wiggle freely, and be cushioned and sturdy.
Don't go barefoot. Not even in your own home. Barefoot walking outside is particularly dangerous because of the possibility of cuts, falls, and other foot injuries on unfamiliar terrain. When at home, wear slippers. Never go barefoot.
Don't wear high heels, sandals, and shoes with pointed toes. These types of footwear can put undue pressure on parts of the foot and contribute to bone and joint disorders, as well as diabetic ulcers. In addition, open toed shoes and sandals with straps between the first two toes should also be avoided.
Don't drink in excess. Alcohol can contribute to neuropathy (nerve damage) which is one of the consequences of diabetes. Drinking can speed up the damage associated with the disease, deaden more nerves, and increase the possibility of overlooking a seemingly minor cut or injury.
Don't wear anything that is too tight around the legs. Panty hose, panty girdles, thigh-highs or knee-highs can constrict circulation to your legs and feet. So can men's dress socks if the elastic is too tight.
Don't try to remove calluses, corns or warts by yourself. Commercial, over-the-counter preparations that remove warts or corns should be avoided because they can burn the skin and cause irreplaceable damage to the foot of a diabetic sufferer. Never try to cut calluses with a razor blade or any other instrument because the risk of cutting yourself is too high, and such wounds can often lead to more serious ulcers and lacerations. See your podiatric physician for assistance in these cases.