Diabetes: Steps for Foot-Washing
Because you have diabetes, you need to wash your feet carefully each day. Post this list of proper foot-washing steps in your bathroom.
Wash and dry your feet
- Use warm (not hot) water. Check the water temperature with your wrists, not your feet.
- Wash all areas of your feet, especially the underside of your toes and between them. Use a mild soap.
- Pat your feet dry. Don't rub the skin on your feet.
- Dry carefully between your toes. If the skin on your feet stays moist, bacteria or a fungus can grow, which can lead to infection.
- Apply lanolin or other moisturizing skin cream to keep the skin on your feet soft and to prevent calluses and cracks. But do not put the cream between your toes.
- Clean underneath your toenails carefully. Do not 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 do it regularly.
- Trim and file your toenails straight across. Trimming them straight across instead of rounding them will help prevent ingrown toenails. Use a nail clipper, not scissors. Use an emery board to smooth the edges. Do not 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 a foot specialist (podiatrist).
- Use a pumice stone to prevent calluses only if your doctor has shown you how to use it properly.
- Put on clean socks daily.
Do not use strong antiseptic soaps, chemicals (such as Epsom salt; iodine; or corn, callus, or wart removers), or perfumed skin lotions on your feet.
Do not cut or pick at the skin (cuticles) around your toenails.
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Current as of: April 16, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Jennifer Hone MD - Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism