Top Ten Toe Tips for Healthy Feet (cont.)
4 - Cut your toenails regularly.
Ideally, your podiatrist will be the one to do this for you in order to be as safe as possible. If you do choose to do it yourself, cut the toenails when they are soft from washing. Shape them to your toe and not too short. File the edges with an emery board. Do not trim your toenails if you cannot see them clearly. Ask a friend or relative, podiatrist, or your physician to do this for you. If you have thickened toenails, ask your physician to have clippings tested for fungal infection.
5 - Do not attempt to file down, remove, or shave calluses or corns.
The toughened skin of a callus is the body’s way of protecting against irritation, such as by a shoe that rubs your foot. Filing it off removes that protection, and is often the initial cause of foot ulcers and resultant amputations. If calluses are present, show them to your physician. Ask him/her or a podiatrist to arrange for your shoes to be stretched, prescribe special shoes, or prescribe orthotic inserts. Your physician may instruct you in the use of a shoe stretcher or a “ball and ring,” both of which can be ordered by a shoe repair shop. By eliminating the pressure on your foot, the callus should resolve over time.
6 - Never walk barefoot.
We know you want to tiptoe through the tulips, but the reward may not be worth the risk to your healthy feet. Always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet from injuries. Make sure your shoes fit well. In the warm weather, don’t wear sandals with thongs between the toes. In the cold weather, wear warm socks and shoes of adequate size. And try to alternate at least two different pairs of shoes every few days. It is wise for all people with diabetes to have the circulation in their feet measured every few years. If circulation is impaired, do not remain in the cold for more than twenty minutes at a time.
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