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Your feet are the very foundation of your body, supporting its weight and keeping you moving. While foot health is important for anybody, it’s especially important for people with diabetes.
Serious complications can result from poor foot health. To keep your feet healthy, there are a few key things you should do.
- Inspect your feet daily, checking for problems like cuts, bunions, dry skin, or overgrown nails.
- Bathe your feet gently to avoid odor, athlete’s foot, and infections.
- Moisturize to prevent dry, cracked skin, but don’t use lotion between your toes. Too much moisture there can increase the risk of fungal infection.
- Cut your toenails carefully, but leave any ingrown nails, calluses, or corns to a professional.
- Keep your feet warm and dry with comfortable, moisture-wicking, nonbinding socks.
- Don’t go barefoot, even indoors. Wear shoes, slippers, or shower shoes to protect your feet from fungus and bacteria.
- Have your doctor examine your feet yearly.
Doing each of the above is easier if you have the right tools and products to work with. There’s a wealth of products available, but it can be hard to sort through all of them to find the right ones.
I’ve lived with type 2 diabetes for a decade. Here are some recommendations based on a combination of personal experience, online research, and user reviews.
When I went looking for a way to reliably examine the bottom of my feet, I was surprised at the solution I found.
Although these two mirrors are intended for looking around car engines while making repairs, they also work well for examining your feet without twisting your body into a pretzel.
Price point: $
The flexible swivel neck of this lighted mirror means you can bend it into whatever position you need. You can even make it stand on its own so your hands are left free to inspect your feet.
Scrubbing brushes and pumice stones do a much better job of cleaning and exfoliating feet than just using a washcloth.
Be sure to get between your toes and around your heel. Dry your feet completely, especially between your toes.
Price point: $
This foot brush makes it easy to clean and exfoliate your feet. Its sturdy, no-slip design attaches to the shower floor and has a built-in pumice stone in addition to scrubbing bristles.
The bristles on this brush are stiff, but most reviewers didn’t find them too hard. This brush may be a better choice for people with more sensitive feet.
Foot lotion or cream should be a standard part of your foot care kit. Since your feet might be more susceptible to cuts and infections, you need to look for more than just a moisturizer. You also need a lotion that has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Keeping your toenails trimmed helps avoid ingrown nails, which can lead to painful swelling and infections.
Price point: $
Shaped like scissors, these heavy duty, sharp clippers trim thick nails more easily and safely than a traditional nail clipper. Some people also find the design helps keep their hand steady and is less awkward to use than a traditional nail clipper.
If you do nothing else, choosing the right socks can help protect your feet throughout the day.
Price point: $
If you’re dealing with a fungal infection, socks made with a special copper-based fiber called Cupron may help kill the fungus. As a bonus, Cupron may also kill foot odor on the sock.
Bare feet are vulnerable to injury and infections. Keeping your feet covered, even when inside, helps keep them safe and healthy.
Everyone’s feet are unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the slippers, scrub brushes, or lotions that work best for you.
Work with your doctor to figure out what you need. They may also be able to suggest or recommend specific products.
Here are a few additional tips:
- When shopping for mirrors, bathing products, and shoes or slippers, keep in mind your lifestyle and preferences, such as if you tend to take baths or showers.
- When shopping for lotions, look for those that contain skin-healthy ingredients and essential oils with antifungal properties.
- When shopping for socks, check for compression options, or those with features like Cupron or seamless toes.
There’s a lot you can do every day to keep your feet healthy, including inspecting, bathing, and moisturizing them, as well as keeping them dry and clear of fungus and bacteria. The right products can help with all of that.
It’s also important to have your doctor check your feet at least once a year. They’ll examine your feet thoroughly and assess their health.
Together, your daily foot care and an annual check will help keep you healthy and on the move.
Corinna Cornejo is a content writer who lives with type 2 diabetes. Her experience as a patient and caregiver informs her health content writing, which is aimed at informing people about how to live their best life. Since being diagnosed a decade ago, Corinna has become a patient advocate and blogger. Read more on her patient blog, Type 2 Musings, and follow her at @type2musings.