Diabetic Foot Care
If you're a diabetic, you've likely made significant lifestyle changes to help control your condition. Even with efforts made to improve your health, some things can be more complicated when you have diabetes. When it comes to your feet, things that would normally not be an issue in someone without diabetes, can be a cause for concern. Complications include nerve damage, poor circulation, ulcers, and changes in the skin or shape of your foot. The smallest of cuts can end up turning into big problems if you're not careful. Here are some tips to help you take care of your feet every day.
Make it part of your routine to do daily foot inspections. Take note of any changes like swelling, cuts, or nail issues and call your podiatrist right away if you notice anything unusual. You should never try to remove a callous or other growth yourself.
Keep them Clean
Wash your feet every day with warm water and thoroughly dry them. Diabetes can cause dry skin so make sure to moisturize them daily, and avoid using lotion between the toes to avoid athlete's foot infections.
Cut Your Nails
Take care of your nails and cut them so they don't get too long. Trim them straight across after a warm bath when they are softer, and file the edges. Do not cut your cuticles and be sure to take note of any ingrown toenails, which will need to get looked at by your provider.
Wear Socks and Shoes
Avoid being barefoot and wear socks, shoes, or slippers to keep your feet protected even in the house. Any cuts from debris can put you at risk of getting an infection. If your footwear gets wet outside, you should change into clean, dry socks and shoes immediately.
Wear the Right Shoes
You'll need to find shoes that fit correctly and takes the pressure off your feet. You don't want to be wearing something that causes pain or gives you blisters so make sure your shoes are broken in before wearing them all day. In some cases, you may need special shoes prescribed by a provider which can be made for you if you have non-healing wounds.
Keep it Moving
Because diabetes causes poor circulation, it's important to take breaks throughout your day and walk around or wiggle your toes to keep your blood pumping. Stay active with at least 25 minutes of activity every day, even if it's a short walk.
Most foot complications are preventable or can be treated before they turn serious. As part of your care, you should make appointments with a podiatrist several times a year. If you're part of a Diabetes Management Program, foot care is typically built into the program and you'll be referred to a podiatrist for further instructions.