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Diabetes: Steps for Foot-Washing

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Diabetes: Steps for Foot-Washing

Overview

Taking good care of your feet is an important part of the daily routine when you have diabetes. Post this list of steps for proper foot-washing and foot care in your bathroom.

  1. Use warm (not hot) water.

    Check the water temperature with your wrists, not your feet.

  2. Wash all areas of your feet.

    Pay special attention to the underside of your toes and between them. Use a mild soap.

  3. Pat your feet dry.

    Don't rub the skin on your feet.

  4. Dry carefully between your toes.

    If the skin on your feet stays moist, bacteria or a fungus can grow. This can lead to infection.

  5. After washing, take care of your feet.
    • Apply lanolin or other moisturizing skin cream. It will help to keep the skin on your feet soft and to prevent calluses and cracks. But don't put the cream between your toes.
    • Clean underneath your toenails carefully. Don't use a sharp object to clean underneath your toenails. If you can't see well, have someone do this for you. Or have your foot specialist (podiatrist) do it regularly.
    • Trim your toenails as needed. Trim and file your toenails straight across to help prevent ingrown toenails.
      • Use a nail clipper, not scissors. Use an emery board to smooth the edges. Don't use a sharp-pointed file or stick to clean around the nail.
      • If you can't see well or if your nails are thick, split, or yellowed, have them trimmed by your doctor or podiatrist.
    • Use a pumice stone to prevent calluses only if your doctor has shown you how to use it properly.
    • Put on clean socks each day.

Here are some things to avoid.

  • Don't use strong antiseptic soaps, perfumed skin lotions, or chemicals (such as Epsom salt; iodine; or corn, callus, or wart removers) on your feet.
  • Don't cut or pick at the skin around your toenails.

Credits

Current as of: February 28, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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