For people with diabetes, foot care and proper foot health is essential. People who suffer from diabetes need to take extra care of their feet. Most diabetics suffer from nerve damage or neuropathy and may not feel tiny abrasions which can turn into major problems. Diabetes also affects the blood circulation, which makes healing time slower and infections a likelihood. Once a diabetic has lost feeling in his or her feet, the possibility of an infection or non-healing wound that could lead to amputation -increases. Healthy Steps has compiled a list of preventative measures that will not only help keep your feet healthy, but help keep your feet altogether. We are experts on diabetes foot care and health.
WASH, DRY, MOISTURIZE
• Wash your feet daily in warm water (not too hot, not too cold). Check the temperature of the bath with your elbow.
• Use a gentle sponge or washcloth, don’t scrub your feet.
• The same principle goes for drying your feet. Make sure you dab at your feet – dry them as if they were sunburnt.
• Make sure that you meticulously dry between your toes.
• Apply lotion daily to keep your feet from itching or cracking – but do not use moisturizer in between your toes as it may cause a fungal infection.
CLIP TOENAILS CAREFULLY
• Your toenails need to be cut straight across and the edges carefully filed.
• Be careful not to cut them too short as this may cause ingrown toenails.
• If you have lost any feeling in your feet, it would be best to ask your podiatrist for advice on how to manage this on a long-term basis.
PROPER SOCKS ARE A MUST!
• Never walk around anywhere in your bare feet. Many serious injuries have occurred by simply walking around barefoot at home.
• Make sure your socks are clean, dry and changed on a daily basis.
• Socks should be seamless to avoid unnecessary irritation.
• Wear socks without tight elastic bands as they reduce circulation.
• Do not use a heating pad or hot water bottle to keep your feet warm at night – wear socks!
THE SHOES HAVE TO FIT AND YOU MUST WEAR THEM!
• Never, ever let your feet get wet, especially in the winter with all of the rain and snow. Wear warm socks and shoes at all times.
• Always shake out your shoes before you put them on to get rid of any foreign object that may have found its way in there. Especially if you have a toddler loose in your house!
• Wear sensible shoes that fit well. Ask Healthy Steps for advice on the right shoe for you.
• Before purchasing new shoes, bring them to us at Healthy Steps and we will gladly let you know if they are suitable.
• We can also provide you with options concerning adding shock absorption to your shoes.
We know this is a long list and it may seem daunting, but foot health is extremely important for people who suffer from diabetes. The most important thing is to get periodic foot exams, while also inspecting your feet at home on a daily basis. Never try to treat things like corns or calluses yourself. Over the counter medications will not work on diabetic patients. Our podiatrists at Healthy Steps are experts in the field of diabetic foot care and foot health. Early detection and prevention will not only save your limbs, but your life as well.