I like to unwind with a foot soak every evening. Is this OK for my feet?
Can I treat an ingrown toenail myself?
If you have an ingrown toenail, see your podiatrist for treatment. Don’t use over-the-counter ingrown toenail remover products from the drugstore. If you see your toenail looking red or swollen, or you see drainage, blood, or pus on your toe, consult your podiatrist immediately. This is an emergency.
If you want a pedicure, buy your own inexpensive nail instrument set and bring it with you to your pedicurist. Make sure the technician knows never to cut your skin. For infection control, make sure the facility washes the basins that your feet may be placed in.
Toenail trimming every two or three months is usually recommended. People who are physically active may need to trim their toenails more frequently.
It may be a good idea to have your toenails cut regularly by a podiatrist if you cannot see or reach your toenails easily, if your nails are hard to cut because they’re thick or you have a fungal nail infection, if the sides of your toenails curve into your skin, if you frequently have trouble clipping your toenails, or if you have reduced sensation or circulation in your feet.
Clipping your nails too short, or "digging" into the sides of your nails when clipping or using an emery board can break the skin, opening the door to fungal or bacterial infections.
Gently smooth your toenails with an emery board after clipping to keep them from snagging on clothing, bed linens, and other materials.
Cut toenails straight across or following the natural curve of the toe, and not too short; this will help to prevent ingrown toenails. Cutting toenails just after a shower or bath can make the job easier.
To treat a minor wound, first wash your hands with soap and water, then cleanse the wound with soap and water. Rinse thoroughly, pat dry, and apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment with a cotton swab and an adhesive bandage. If you see no appreciable improvement in a treated wound within 24 hours, consult your doctor or podiatrist immediately.
If you have troublesome calluses or corns on your feet, see your podiatrist for advice and treatment. Never use an acid product on any part of your feet, and avoid even acid-free callus and corn home treatments. Also steer clear of pumice stones and files, which are not sterile and can cause breaks in the skin if you rub too vigorously or remove too much skin. Never take a sharp blade to your feet.
Apply a moisturizing lotion to your feet once or twice a day to help keep your skin healthy and moist. Choose thick lotions over thin, “watery” lotions, and don’t put lotion between your toes, since the skin between toes tends to stay moist naturally. (Adding lotion there would overmoisturize that area and cause problems.)
If it’s hard to see your feet, run your fingers over them to feel for calluses or sore spots. The backs of your hands are sensitive to heat and can be run over your feet to find hot spots, which can indicate infection.
Never walk with bare feet or with just socks on, especially if your feet are numb, to reduce the risk of foot injury. Also, don’t soak your feet unless you’re instructed to do so; this can dry out the skin and increase the risk of injury and infection. Do not use commercial products to remove corns and calluses, strong antiseptics, or heating pads on your feet. All can cause irritation that increases the risk of foot complications.
Try wiggling your toes and rotating your ankles for a few minutes every day to promote blood flow to your feet.
Regular follow-up examinations for people with diabetic ulcers are an important part of treatment; even after they have healed, approximately 30% of ulcers recur.
Putting topical disinfectants such as iodine, acetic acid, or hydrogen peroxide on a foot or leg ulcer may actually impair wound healing. Do not add any steps to wound treatment that are not part of the plan developed with your health-care provider.
People with peripheral neuropathy or with peripheral vascular disease, especially if they have limited joint mobility in the foot or a foot deformity, should check their feet regularly and carefully and should change their shoes midway through each day to reduce the risk of foot irritation.
Signs of peripheral vascular disease include leg pain that occurs only during activity, pain in the foot even while it is at rest, loss of hair on the lower legs and feet, skin that appears tight and shiny on the affected area, and reduced size of foot muscles.
Avoiding all episodes of hypoglycemia may be impossible for many people, especially since maintaining tight blood glucose control brings with it a higher risk of hypoglycemia. However, although hypoglycemia can, at times, be unpleasant, don’t risk your health by allowing your blood glucose levels to run higher than recommended to avoid it.
People who have had chronically high blood glucose levels for a long time may experience symptoms of hypoglycemia when their blood glucose level drops to a more normal range.
In people who take insulin or a drug that spurs the pancreas to release more insulin, not eating enough food at the times the insulin or drug is working can cause hypoglycemia. Physical activity and exercise also lower blood glucose level and can contribute to hypoglycemia if not planned for properly.
For most people with diabetes, a blood glucose level of 70 mg/dl or less is considered low, and treatment is recommended to prevent it from dropping even lower. If you have symptoms of hypoglycemia and do not have your blood glucose meter available, treatment is recommended.
Nephropathy (diabetic kidney disease) is the most common cause of kidney failure in the United States and the greatest threat to life in adults with Type 1 diabetes. It is essential that people with diabetes undergo an annual test for the presence of microalbuminuria, the spilling of small amounts of the protein albumin into the urine, which indicates kidney damage.
The risk for retinopathy, a disease of the retina that is associated with diabetes, can be reduced with control of blood glucose and blood pressure levels.
Should you need to be admitted to the hospital for any reason, ask that a member of your diabetes care team be consulted regarding your treatment to ensure that you maintain the best possible blood glucose control. Keeping your blood glucose levels as close as possible to their target ranges while you are in the hospital can reduce your chance of developing further illness or infection during your stay.
If you have a history of diabetes and are visiting a physician for the first time, you should have a complete physical exam as well as a discussion about your current blood glucose control, the presence of any diabetes complications, and your ongoing diabetes care needs.
If you have hypoglycemia frequently, you may need to raise your blood glucose targets, and you should monitor your blood glucose level more frequently and avoid alcohol.
Many people still make a fair amount of insulin when they are first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, so their initial treatment may focus mainly on decreasing insulin resistance. However, a person's treatment may change over time as his degree of insulin resistance or ability to produce insulin changes.
If something has happened in your life that has affected how you care for your diabetes, let your health-care provider know. Remember that your health-care providers are there to help you create a plan that will work for you, not to judge you on your ability to carry out a particular plan.
Ask your health-care providers for any money-saving tips they may have, and tell them if you cannot afford the drugs or other products they recommend.
If you’re having a rough time, or your feelings are keeping you from caring for yourself or doing the things you enjoy, consider seeking out support from others who have diabetes.
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