7 Crucial Foot Care Tips for Diabetes Patients
Follow this Simple Checklist to ELIMINATE the Risk of Foot Complications from Diabetes
Vigilant diabetes patients that follow a few simple foot care tips dramatically reduce their risk of toe, foot or leg amputations. People with diabetes mellitus are 10 times more likely to have a lower limb amputated than people without diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Diabetic patients MUST pay extra attention to their feet to avoid infection and serious injury.
The disease can cause poor blood circulation and nerve damage in the feet, making them vulnerable to developing ulcers, infections, deformities and brittle bones.
Simple Treatment Options for Preventing Complications from Diabetes
- Inspect your feet every day
- Regularly wash your feet with warm water
- Keep your feet moisturized
- NEVER trim corns or calluses
- Wear fitted shoes and keep them on!
- Protect your feet from hot and cold
- Stay active!
Your best defense is your education. Learn what diabetes does to your body. You’ve got to give it your full respect and attention, otherwise you’ll only end up hurting yourself. Keep these few tips in mind to monitor diabetes’ effect on your feet.
Above all else, give your feet the attention they deserve! You need to check your feet visually—you may not always feel something is wrong.
Diabetics often suffer from peripheral neuropathy, a type of nerve damage associated with diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy causes numbness—so you won’t necessarily know right away if you’ve got a sore, cut or blister.
That’s bad news for a patient with diabetes. Diabetes can reduce blood flow, and your feet might get robbed of essential nutrients and oxygen it needs to heal properly.
You need to visually inspect and feel your feet for problems every single day—no excuses.
Failing to keep your feet clean and free of harmful bacteria opens the door for infections. Your feet might not be able to feel heat, so test the temperature of the water with your hands first. Oversaturated sores take longer to heal, so don’t soak your feet for too long.
Once you’re done giving your feet a good rinse, dry them off right away, especially between the toes.
But don’t overthink it—just keep your feet clean and dry and you’ll be ship-shape.
Make a habit of keeping your feet moist with a thin layer of lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet. Cracked skin makes it easier for bacteria to get under your skin—and your body has a harder time healing infections.
Avoid the area between the toes. The space between your toes is virtually airtight and doesn’t get much oxygen. When the skin gets moist in those tight spaces, it can break down and get infected.
Remember—your feet are extra vulnerable to infection because your body typically cannot heal as quickly. Trimming corns and calluses essentially creates wounds, allowing potentially harmful bacteria to enter and cause an infection.
If you’ve got diabetes and have developed a corn, callus, or any kind of sore, contact an experienced podiatrist immediately to determine the safest way to remove the problem, surgical or otherwise. Tackling this kind of thing by yourself may only exacerbate things.
Check the inside of your shoes frequently. If the lining is torn, heel is ripped up or there’s something rattling around in their irritating your toes/feet, you’re asking for trouble. The smallest problem could cause a blister, which makes you vulnerable to infection and an injury that just won’t go away.
Invest in a pair of shoes fitted properly to your feet. You’re exposing yourself to too much danger trying to get by with a cheap pair of sneakers.
Because diabetics’ feet are more vulnerable, do your best to stay in shoes AND SOCKS and avoid walking around barefoot.
Why insist on socks? Leather, plastics and other shoe materials may irritate the skin on your feet and cause blisters. Pad your feet and create a cushion to avoid any possible calluses, corns or sores.
We’re repeating a common refrain—peripheral neuropathy causes numbness, and you won’t always be able to feel pain. Extreme cold or heat can do big damage if you aren’t paying attention and keep your feet in cold water or stay out too long on a hot, sunny summer day.
Diabetic patients need to pay more attention to their feet (and really, their bodies/health in general). It’s not fair, but you don’t have much of a choice in the matter.
Running can be pretty hard on your feet. Try out cycling for great exercise and keep the stress off your feet!
We’re all sick of hearing this. Thirty minutes of exercise every day, they say!
It’s not easy and not all of us love it. But medical professionals wouldn’t keep harping on it if it wasn’t so important.
Exercise is important for everyone, but particularly for diabetic patients. You have got to keep the blood flowing to your feet. You might try tai chi, yoga, swimming or cycling to keep the stress off of your feet.
If you’re at an advanced age it’s a little harder to get on your feet and keep moving. We’re not talking about running marathons here—simply frequently wiggling your toes, light massaging or putting your feet up from time to time can be enough to stimulate blood flow.
The Bottom Line: Control Your Diabetes and Stop Stressing
Ultimately, if you do a bang-up job controlling your blood sugar levels and take care of your body (stop smoking, please!), you greatly reduce the chance of suffering complications from diabetes.
People with diabetes must remain vigilant and see a foot and ankle surgeon at the first sign of trouble. Early treatment can keep diabetic foot problems from progressing, and reduce the risk of amputations. Did you know hepatitis C can cause diabetes, even if you have no family history or weight problems? Learn more about the surprising relationship between hep C, diabetes and foot pain.