Put Your Feet First With Diabetes

How to watch your step when the temperature rises.

Nuna Alberts
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Over time, high blood sugar levels can damage nerves. Called diabetic neuropathy, it can cause pain and numbness, especially in the feet. Foot care is critical in the summer, when heat and moisture raise the chance for infection. To stay one step ahead, just…

Put your feet up! Grab a beach chair, stretch out and elevate your feet if they’re swollen to improve circulation and protect nerve function.
Tip! Avoid crossing your legs, which can worsen neuropathy pain and possibly increase nerve damage.

Keep them clean. And, after washing, dry feet thoroughly, then rub a thin coat of a water-based moisturizer on the tops and bottoms to prevent cracking.

Wear shoes at the beach. Sand gets very hot, and if you have reduced sensation in your feet, you could get burned without realizing it. Even if you have full sensation, sand can hide sharp objects—such as broken shells. As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t go barefoot anywhere, even at home.
Tip! Check out anti-chafing socks to prevent blisters if you have nerve damage or loss of sensation in your feet.

Just ask! Stay on top of your diabetic neuropathy by asking your diabetes educator these questions:

  • What lifestyle changes (e.g., diet, exercise, quitting smoking) can help ease the pain?
  • What can I be doing to better control my blood sugar levels?
  • Do you know of any support groups I could join?
  • Can you recommend any medications that might help me control my diabetic neuropathy pain?


April 2013