Footnotes: Helpful Footcare Hints

Jul 1, 1998

The peripheral neuropathy that is the underlying cause of Charcot foot can lead to other foot problems as well. The diminished sensation that allows a person with peripheral neuropathy to continue to walk on a Charcot foot can also lead them to further damage a foot adversely affected by extreme temperatures, poorly fitting shoes, cuts or ulcers.

The following foot care tips have been developed by the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases as part of their "Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime" booklet. The booklet is a component of its "Feet Can Last a Lifetime" kit for health care providers to help patients prevent serious foot problems.

  1. Take care of your diabetes.
    • Work with your health care team to keep your blood sugar within a good range.
  2. Check your feet every day.
    • Look at your bare feet every day for cuts, blisters, red spots and swelling.
    • Use a mirror to check the bottoms of your feet or ask a family member for help if you have trouble seeing.
  3. Wash your feet everyday.
    • Wash your feet in warm, not hot, water everyday.
    • Dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between the toes.
  4. Keep the skin soft and smooth.
    • Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between the toes.
  5. Smooth corns and calluses gently.
    • Use a pumice stone to smooth corns and calluses.
  6. Trim your toenails each week or when needed.
    • Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file.
  7. Wear shoes and socks at all times.
    • Never walk barefoot.
    • Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
    • Feel inside your shoes before putting them on each time to make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
  8. Protect your feet from hot and cold.
    • Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement.
    • Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
  9. Keep the blood flowing to your feet.
    • Put your feet up when sitting.
    • Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for five minutes, two or three times a day.
    • Don't cross your legs for long periods of time.
    • Don't smoke.
  10. Be more active.
    • Plan your physical activity program with your doctor.
  11. Check with your doctor.
    • Have your doctor check your bare feet and find out whether you are likely to have serious foot problems. Remember that you may not feel the pain of an injury.
    • Call your doctor right away if a cut, sore, blister or bruise on your foot does not begin to heal after one day.
    • Follow your doctor's advice about foot care.
  12. Get started now.
    • Begin taking good care of your feet today.
    • Set a time every day to check your feet, and take care of your feet for a lifetime.

To order a free copy of "Take Care of Your Feet for a Lifetime," call the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse at (800) GET-LEVEL (438-5383); or write them at Feet Can Last a Lifetime, One Diabetes Way, Bethesda, MD 20892-3600; or visit the NIDDK website at and click on "Diabetes" under "Health Information & Education" to download a copy of the booklet.

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