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Have diabetes? Treat your feet right this summer

A pair of feet in athletic shoes resting next to a bicycle seat at the beach.

June 16, 2019—Summer's on the way—a good time for kicking back. But that doesn't mean you can take a break from caring for your feet when you have diabetes. In fact, keeping your feet healthy in the summertime may require a few extra precautions. Give your feet all the TLC they need with these tips from the American Diabetes Association.

1. Resist the urge to go barefoot, even at the beach. Stepping on a shell, rock or other sharp objects—which may hide under sand—raises your risk for a slow-healing wound. At the shore, wear a closed-toed beach shoe. This safeguard is especially important if you have nerve damage and may not feel a cut or scrape.

2. Be wary of flip-flops. They provide almost no protection for your feet. Plus, it's all too easy to slip out of them and step on something sharp.

3. Wear water shoes in the water. They cover—and protect—your feet. And because they're made of material that drains quickly, they help prevent blisters when you're back on the shore.

4. Be sock-savvy. Socks add another layer of protection for your feet. But don't wear cotton ones. While their light weight may make them seem like a great pick for summer, cotton socks don't wick away moisture. And moisture between your toes can cause a fungal infection, particularly when you have diabetes.

5. Do a thorough foot check before swimming. If you see any cracks, cuts or blisters, stay out of the water. Even pools can harbor dangerous germs that can cause a nasty infection. But remember: This isn't a substitute for routine daily foot checks. They're a year-round must.

6. Moisturize regularly. The summer sun, saltwater and chlorine can dry out your feet, and dry skin can crack and become infected. Use a light cream daily on your feet—everywhere but between your toes, where you always want to avoid extra moisture.

7. Don't forget sunscreen on your feet. They can get burned too. Slather sunscreen on any skin that is exposed by your footwear—for example, when you're wearing sandals—before heading outdoors.

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