4 Tips for Diabetic Foot Care
Living with diabetes means making changes and adjustments to your everyday lifestyle. From the foods you eat to the daily routine you follow, it’s essential to consider how every aspect of your life affects your condition and its related symptoms.
This includes taking great care of your feet! Foot problems can be common in people with diabetes, and the earlier you take a preventative approach to diabetic foot care, the better.
Today, we’re sharing four tips to help you prioritize your foot health, starting today.
Why is Diabetic Foot Care Important?
We ask a lot of our feet. They support our weight throughout the day, and they’re the first parts of our bodies that touch the ground any time we walk. While this is already a tough job, diabetes can make it even tougher.
Let’s take a look at two ways this condition can affect your feet.
Diabetes can cause your blood vessels to become blocked and damaged. This interferes with circulation throughout your body, which can negatively affect your feet.
Your feet already have to work overtime to receive a strong blood flow, as they’re located far away from your heart. When that flow is impeded, it becomes even more challenging for them to receive the nutrients they require. This is why you may notice that your feet become cold easily, even in warm environments.
Without adequate nutrients and growth factors, your feet also have a harder time repairing themselves if you suffer any type of injury, such as a cut or bruise. You might notice that your feet take longer to heal, and you may even require medical intervention for more serious injuries.
Diabetes can elevate your blood sugar levels, causing inflammation throughout your body, including in your feet. This can damage and interfere with the nerves in your feet, leading to a condition called diabetic neuropathy.
Over time, extensive nerve damage can cause your feet to feel tingly and prickly. They may also feel like they’re burning, or like they’ve been shocked. In more severe cases, they can become numb without any sensation at all. When you lose feeling in your feet, you also lose the ability to feel when they’ve become damaged. As such, it’s easy to overlook an injury, even a significant one.
As you continue walking on your injured feet, their condition can worsen. If they already have a difficult time healing, this can lead to serious complications. Even a simple wound can snowball into a major infection.
While these prospects can seem scary, you can help avoid them by taking intentional care of your feet. Let’s take a look at four simple ways to start.
Tip #1: Check Your Feet Daily
Our first tip is to monitor the condition of your feet on a daily basis! As mentioned, conditions like neuropathy and reduced circulation can make your feet lose sensation, so it’s more difficult to detect when something’s wrong.
Make foot care a part of your daily routine, taking around five minutes to thoroughly assess how they look and feel. Start this habit now, even if you can still feel your feet perfectly fine. The effects of diabetes can come on gradually, so you could slowly lose sensation without realizing it.
Choose a time that you can remember, such as right before you go to bed or as soon as you wake up in the morning. You might find that it helps to add a reminder to your phone or set an alarm so you don’t forget.
As you perform your daily foot inspection, use your hands and eyes to look for anything out of the ordinary. Key concerns to look for include cuts, sores, corns, or ingrown toenails. Also, check for any type of discoloration in your skin or toenails.
If you notice anything, contact our practice as soon as possible. We’ll let you know whether you need to come in for an appointment or keep monitoring it from home. Even if the issue is minor, it’s still helpful to keep a record of it for the future.
Tip #2 – Do Not Go Barefoot
It can be tempting to go barefoot, especially during warm summer days. However, one of the most important parts of foot care for diabetes is to keep your feet covered and comfortable at all times. When you’re barefoot, you’re more likely to step on an object that could puncture and wound your foot. You could also come into contact with a substance that could cause an infection.
Even indoors, wear diabetic socks and shoes to keep your feet well-protected. These are designed to reduce pressure against your feet and prevent the development of sores and hot spots. Before putting your shoes on, check to make sure the interior lining is clean and free of any debris.
Tip #3 – Use Lotion Properly on Your Feet
Lotion can keep your feet soft and well-hydrated, but it’s important to use it the right way. To keep the skin on your feet smooth and healthy, apply a thin coat of lotion or cream on the top and bottom of your feet.
Steer clear of the area between your toes, as this is where moisture can accumulate. Excess moisture can cause a fungal infection to develop, which could become more serious if you cannot feel or detect it.
Tip #4 – No Surgeries at Home
It can be tempting to try to correct a foot problem at home, especially if you have the basic tools to do so. For instance, you may want to use medicated pads to self-treat any corns or callouses you discover.
These are referred to as “bathroom surgeries” and should be avoided at all costs. If performed improperly, they could make the condition worse. Always visit the doctors here for appropriate, professional treatment.
Get Help with Diabetic Foot Care Early on From Our Podiatrists
At Comprehensive Foot and Ankle Centers, we understand the importance of foot care for diabetics. We also know how helpful early prevention can be. With the correct approach and the right team by your side, you can prevent foot problems before they start and optimize your overall health.
Our team of board-certified podiatrists can offer advice and recommendations on how you can keep your feet in great condition. If you suffer any type of injury to your feet, from an ingrown toenail to a more serious complication, let us know immediately. We’re your partners in foot care, and we’ll take care of you right away.
Contact us today at one of our conveniently located offices to learn more about our diabetes foot care services.