What’s Afoot in Creams and Lotions, Salves and Potions

For people without diabetes, fancy skin cream is often a sheerindulgence. For people with diabetes, however, it's a far moreserious matter.

Diabetes-related peripheral neuropathy can causeloss of sensation in your feet, leading to unsuspected injury and ahole in your foot before you know it. At the same time, neuropathycan create remarkably painful burning, prickling, and otherdistressing sensations.

That's why it's important to examine your feet from top to bottomevery day, even peering between your toes – just to make sure thatthere's nothing going on down there that might lead to a foot ulcer.It's far easier to prevent a foot ulcer than to cure one, so everystep you take to care for your feet makes it more likely that you'llstill be stepping out in the future.

Sole food is an important ingredient in the foot care recipe.Massage your feet softly with a good cream, lotion, or oil to softenthe skin and prevent cracks, blisters, and calluses. (Do not applyany products between your toes unless instructed to by yourcaregiver. And never apply anything to an open sore; instead, seeyour physician, podiatrist, or wound care specialist immediately.)

If you have painful neuropathy, you might want to try some of thepain-relieving lotions. Of course, there are oral medicationstargeted at painful neuropathy, but sometimes the simplest solutioncan really help. In any case, do remember to thoroughly check thestatus of your feet every day. Bottoms up!