Summer time calls for lots of shoeless activities – swimming, hanging at the beach, and letting your toes wiggle in some fresh cut grass at the local park. Being raised a San Diego girl and now living here in Portland, everyone is outside all the time (year round in San Diego…and also year round in Portland…these Pac Northwest folks aren’t scared of anything!) With the high temps, my feet have been relatively unprotected for the past few months. I’m either totally barefoot, out in nature, or wearing flip flops because the thought of putting on a shoe and sock combination in this weather makes me sweat just thinking about it. All this foot action is great…except it’s totally not recommended for people with diabetes.
If you check the ADA website and look up foot care, they offer a lot of advice on good preventative foot care for people with diabetes. Just some of the items in their loooong list are as follows:
- Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help.
- Wash your feet every day. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes.
- Keep your skin soft and smooth. Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.
- Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
- Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don’t put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
On this checklist, I do exactly NONE of these things. I also get pedicures regularly, run in “barefoot” toe shoes, and wear high heels on the regular. Basically, I am horrible at this preventive foot care thing and I clearly have a bit of a guilt complex about it.
But am I alone here? Are all of you folks following this checklist closely? What about in the summer time when your feet are often exposed. Can anyone make me feel better about being a total slacker by also admitting they don’t do any of this?