Here’s some helpful information on diabetic foot care-four reasons why and fourteen ways to do it.
1. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause nerve damage and circulation problems, often called peripheral artery disease.
- These problems can cause or contribute to foot problems.
➡ Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet—even a small cut can produce serious consequences.
2. Nerve damage can take away the feeling in your feet.
3. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection.
And, because of these problems, you may not notice a foreign object in your shoe. As a result, you could develop a blister or a sore.
4. This could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound that could put you at risk for an amputation.
Fourteen Ways To Practice Good Diabetic Foot Care
1. Inspect your feet daily.
- Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling or nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your doctor if you notice anything.
2. Bathe feet in lukewarm (never hot water). Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Hot water can soften the skin leading to tears which may go unnoticed and become infected.
3. Be gentle when bathing your feet. Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or patting and carefully dry between the toes.
4. Moisturize your feet daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking, but not between your toes. That could encourage a fungal infection.
5. Cut nails carefully. Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too short, as this could lead to ingrown toenails. If you have concerns about your nails, consult your doctor.
6. Never treat corns or calluses yourself. No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for appropriate treatment.
7. Wear clean, dry socks. Change them daily.
➡ Consider socks made specifically for diabetics. These socks have extra cushioning, do not have elastic tops, are higher than the ankle and are made from fibers that wick moisture away from the skin.
➡ If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. Never use a heating pad or a hot water bottle.
8. Shake out your shoes and feel the inside before wearing. Remember, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before putting them on.
9. Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
10. Consider using an antiperspirant on the soles of your feet. This is helpful if you have excessive sweating of the feet.
11. Never walk barefoot. Not even at home! Always wear shoes or slippers. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut that may go unnoticed and become infected.
12. Take care of your diabetes. Keep your blood sugar levels under control.
13. Do not smoke. Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.
14. Get periodic foot exams. Seeing a Podiatrist on a regular basis can help prevent the foot complications of diabetes such as:
- Leg or foot wounds that are slow to heal
- Unexplained leg pain or cramping, especially during exercise or walking
- Skin problems or discoloration on your legs and feet, poor nail growth
- Legs or feet that feel numb in some areas or feel like they’re asleep
Proper diagnosis of your overall diabetic status can start by practicing good diabetic foot care and talking with your doctor about any unusual signs or symptoms you have noticed.
Print this out as a handy reference to Diabetic Foot Care-Four Reasons Why And Fourteen Ways To Do It
- Excess weight
- Advanced Age
- A family history of Peripheral Artery Disease
If you don’t have any symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease, discuss your possible risks for it with your physician.
RISK FACTORS: People with heart disease and diabetes risk factors are more likely to have Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD), which affects more than 8.5 million American adults.
Are you one of them?
If you’re not experiencing any signs, practicing good diabetic foot care daily will prevent future complications.