Feats of Health
The medical staff at Curative Wound Care Centers recommends following certain basic steps in proper foot care - ranging from wearing the right kind of socks to trimming the toenails correctly - that are key in the prevention of amputations as a result of neuropathy.
"Knowledge of the warning signs for neuropathy and the preventative measures to avoid or lessen injuries, sores and infections is the 'first line of defense' in amputation prevention," advises George Dietrick, MD, vice president of medical affairs for Curative.
Curative manages more than 170 outpatient wound care centers in hospitals across the United States and Puerto Rico. Call (800) 579-5959 to find the center nearest you.
Curative recommends seeing a physician from one to four times a year for routine testing for nerve damage. Curative's suggestions for diabetic foot wound and amputation prevention are:
- Never go barefoot either indoors or outdoors.
- If your feet become excessively dry, lubricate them with a thin film of moisturizing cream on the soles immediately after bathing.
- Avoid exposing feet to extremes. Never walk on hot sand or pavement. Protect feet from sunburn with sunscreen. Check bath water with elbow before entering; it should not be too hot.
- Do not use hot water bottles or a heating pad to warm cold feet; instead wear loose socks in bed if feet are cold. Never use hot or cold soaks for your feet.
- Nails should be trimmed straight across; gently round corners with a fine emery board or pumice stone.
- Corns or calluses should not be cut; consult a physician or podiatrist for this type of care. Also, do not use commercial corn or callus removers, foot pads or arch supports.
- Only comfortable, well-fitting shoes should be worn. Do not choose shoes with open toes or heels and do not wear sandals.
- Purchase new shoes late in the day when feet are slightly enlarged to assure they will fit comfortably at any time. New shoes should not be worn for more than two hours at a time.
- No shoes should be worn more than five hours at one time. It is recommended that one pair be worn in the morning, one in the afternoon and another in the evening.
- Do not wear shoes without socks or stockings. Socks or stockings with seams should be avoided. Cotton and cotton blends are recommended. Socks should be clean and changed daily.
- Do not use garters or elastics to hold up stockings, and do not use panty girdles which are tight around the legs.