To help reduce your chances of getting diabetic foot ulcers, take the following steps:
- Cleanse your feet daily and dry them thoroughly between the toes before putting shoes and socks on. Do not wear garters and tight stockings around the legs.
- You may want to use petroleum jelly or an unscented lotion to moisturize dry, leathery feet. Do not put lotion between the toes, since the extra moisture may attract bacteria.
- After cleansing your feet, inspect them daily for sores that you may not be able to feel. Use a mirror or the assistance of another person to see parts of the feet you may not usually be able to see.
- Your primary doctor should look at your feet and test the feeling in them at least once a year at your regular visit. If you find a sore at any time, make an appointment to see your doctor right away. You may be referred to a foot specialist or podiatrist for treatment of your foot ulcer.
- People with diabetes may have toenails that are brittle and difficult to cut without causing ingrown toenails. You may also want to have a foot specialist or podiatrist trim your toenails regularly.
- Buy properly fitted shoes. If you have Medicare coverage, once per calendar year Medicare (Part B) will pay 80% of the cost of a pair of properly fitted, custom-made shoes with inserts for people with diabetes. Costs may vary by state. The doctor who treats your diabetes must verify that you have a need for these shoes. Then you will need a prescription for the shoes from a podiatrist.
- Avoid smoking.
- Exercise daily, with the approval of your doctor, to improve blood flow and blood sugar levels.
- Calluses can increase the pressure in the foot and lead to foot ulcers. Have your podiatrist cut any callus once you detect it. This could reduce the risk of developing a foot ulcer.
Foot Temperature Monitoring
According to studies, if you are at high risk for diabetic foot ulcers, checking the temperature of your feet—using an infared skin thermometer—can reduce the number of ulcers. The TempTouch thermometer used in the study costs $150. *¹*² Ask your doctor if you should check the temperature of your feet.