In the previous post, we began our discussion about Diabetic Foot. Diabetic Foot is an umbrella term covering foot problems that result from diabetes. Due to vascular issues and diabetic neuropathy, as well as delayed wound healing, infection of the foot can happen frequently in patients with diabetes.
Proper, professional footcare is absolutely essential for people with diabetes. Foot problems can include:
- loss of feeling in their feet
- Changes in the shape of their feet
- Foot sores or ulcers that do not heal
Simple daily footcare can help patients with diabetes ward off serious problems. The following are some ways to do this:
- Take Care of Your Diabetes
Keep your blood sugar close to normal. Work with your doctor to create a plan to do this.
- Check Your Feet Daily
This is imperative! Check your feet for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, or infected toenails. This should become part of your daily routine. If you have trouble bending, use a plastic mirror to help or ask a family member to help you.
- Wash Your Feet Every Day
Wash your feet in warm water. Do not use hot water or soak your feet because your skin will get dry. Check the temperature before bathing your feet and be sure to dry your feet well. Be sure to dry between your toes.
- Keep the Skin Soft and Smooth
Use a thin coat of skin lotion or cream on the tops and bottoms of the feet. It is best not to use lotion in between toes as this might cause infection.
- Wear Proper-Fitting Shoes and Socks At All Times
Footwear and orthotics play a critical part in diabetic footcare. Wear shoes and socks at all times. Do not walk barefoot, not even indoors. Seamless socks, stockings, and nylons are best to wear with your shoes to help avoid the possibility of blisters and sores developing. Always check the insides of your shoes before putting them on to make sure they are free of any objects that could injure your feet. Wears shoes that fit well and protect your feet.
- Protect Your Feet From Hot and Cold
Always wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Use sunscreen on the tops of your feet for protection from the sun. If your feet are cold, wear seamless socks at night. Lined boots are good to keep your feet warm as well in the winter. Choose socks carefully–don’t wear socks with seams or bumpy areas. Also choose padded socks to protect your feet.
- Do Not Smoke
Smoking reduces blood flow to your feet. If you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, work with your physician to get it under control.
Ask your doctor to plan an exercise program that is right for you. Avoid all activities that are hard on the feet, such as running and jumping. Include a warm-up and cool-down period in your exercise program. Wear athletic shoes that fit well and offer exemplary support.
- See Your Podiatrist Regularly
If you are a patient with diabetes, you should see a podiatrist regularly. Studies have shown that diabetic patients under a podiatrist’s care have nearly 29% lower risk of amputation and a 24% lower risk of hospitalization. Your podiatrist is trained to spot complications from diabetes early enough to keep them under control if you have a regular exam.
And remember, if you are diabetic and suspect any problems with your feet, get help immediately. Prevention is the best medicine.