People with diabetes can have major complications related to foot. Hence Foot care among diabetics has to be taken care very importantly.
People with diabetes can have major complications related to foot. Hence Foot care among diabetics has to be taken care very importantly. Prolonged high blood glucose levels may result in a condition called diabetic neuropathy that is damage to the nerves or loss of circulation or infections that will lead to serious foot problems. Your feet can lose sensation and become numb if the nerves in your feet or legs are damaged. However, you can take precautions to maintain healthy feet.
Signs and Symptoms of Foot Problems:
The sign and symptoms include:
- Loss of sensation to heat, cold, or touch
- Burning, tingling, or painful feet
- Loss of hair on the toes, feet, and lower legs
- Thickening and yellowing of the toenails
- Red spots, blisters, sores, ulcers, infected corns, or ingrown toenails
Diabetic Foot Complications:
Untreated sores, ingrown toenails, and other problems can lead to infection. Poor circulation makes it difficult to heal an infection. Infections that do not heal can cause skin and tissue to die and turn black which is called gangrene. Treatment can involve surgery to amputate a toe, foot, or part of a leg.
Diabetic foot complications includes:
- Foot ulcers which is an open wounds on the foot
- Charcot foot which is a deformation of the foot
So it is always better to avoid them by taking proper foot care.
Preventing Diabetic Related Foot Complications:
Managing your diabetes and maintaining a healthy lifestyle helps keep your feet healthy. This should include:
- Regular medical examination of your foot, including checking your ABCs (A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol)
- Monitoring your blood sugar on a daily basis
- Regular exercise
- Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and fibers
You can help prevent serious foot problems by following a good foot care regimen.
Daily Foot Care:
A few foot care habits you can do on daily basis are:
Inspect Your Feet:
Check your feet and toes, inspecting the tops, sides, soles, heels, and the area in between the toes. If you find any sores, redness, cuts, blisters, or bruises , utmost care has to be taken until it gets cured.
Wash Your Feet:
Wash your feet every day in warm water with mild soap. Hot water and harsh soaps can damage your skin. Since your diabetes may make it difficult to sense water temperature with your feet, check the water temperature with your fingers or elbow before putting your feet in.
Dry Your Feet:
Pat your feet to dry them and make sure to dry well. Make sure you dry the area between your toes well as, infections tend to develop in moist areas soon.
Moisturize Dry Skin:
Use lotion or oil if the skin on your feet feels rough or dry. Do not use lotion between your toes as infections tend to develop in moist areas soon.
Caring For Your Feet:
Damage to your feet can be reduced by :
- Avoiding walking barefoot
- Wearing correctly fitting footwear
- Keeping your feet clean and in good condition
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed or stand in one position for long periods of time
- Avoid removing corns, calluses, warts, or other foot lesions yourself
- Avoid using chemical wart removers, razor blades, corn plasters, or liquid corn or callus removers
- Protect your feet from heat and cold
Visual difficulty, nerve problems, or circulatory changes in the legs or feet will make it difficult for diabetic people to do routine toenail care. Proper toenail care will help you prevent getting an ulcer or foot sore.
Few tips for proper toenail care:
- Be careful not to cut toenails too short.
- Trim your toenails after washing your feet, when your nails are soft.
- To help prevent ingrown toenails, cut straight across rather than in a curved fashion.
- Don't cut into the corners. Use an emery board to smooth the edges.
Footwear: Shoes and Socks
Things to be taken care while choosing shoes and socks for diabetic people are:
- Choose comfortable, well-fitting shoes with enough space, especially in the toe box. Never buy tight shoes hoping they will stretch.
- Avoid very high heels, thong sandals, flip-flops, pointed-toe and open-toe shoes.
- Wear shoes that can be adjusted with laces, buckles, or Velcro.
- Regularly check tears or bumps inside your shoes that may cause pressure or irritation.
- To change the pressure points on different areas of your feet, give your feet a break or change shoes after few hours.
- Wear clean, dry socks, or non-binding pantyhose as this can provide an extra layer of soft protection between your foot and your shoe.
- Avoid socks that are too tight on the leg.
- Wear socks to bed if your feet are cold.