Diabetic Foot Care Prevention
Do you know that diabetic people are prone to foot complications that result from long periods of poor control of blood sugar levels? Amputations and foot ulcers are a major cause of disability, morbidity, as well as physical and emotional strains for persons with diabetes.
Early identification and management of risk factors for amputations and ulcers can prevent the onset of adverse effects.
How can you avoid these health complications?
You need to have a diabetic foot care plan to help you avoid foot problems. If you’re diabetic, keeping your feet healthy is important, and you need to be cautious about foot hygiene.
Here are some tips to help you with diabetic foot care:
1. Quit Tobacco Smoking
Do you know the side effects of tobacco smoking run from your brain to your feet? If you’re a smoker, the best time to quit is now. The nicotine in cigarette damages and constricts your blood vessels. This means that if you’re a smoker, you’re denying your feet an oxygen-rich supply of blood.
Why do your feet need an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood? The blood helps to keep your feet healthy since it that combats infections.
If you’re diabetic, there are already risk factors that compromise your blood vessels. This proves that smoking complicates your condition even more.
2. Avoid Going Barefoot
Not going barefoot outside the house makes sense to most people. However, for diabetic patients, the script is different. You should never walk barefoot, whether inside or outside the house.
Walking around the house without shoes exposes your feet to the risk of injury by sharp objects such as glass shards, misplaced sewing needle, and splinters. These objects can cause scrapes, small cuts or even penetrate your skin. It’s best to protect your feet at all times.
Remember to always check inside your shoes to ensure no sharp objects are left inside.
3. Avoid Using Your Feet to Test Water Temperatures
If you have already developed nerve damage, it can be difficult to tell the water temperature. The water can be too hot and you even won’t feel until it scalds your skin.
Do you know how to check the water temperature before stepping into a bath? Use your elbow. Checking the temperatures with your feet can result in burns since your feet may not sensitive enough.
Use warm water to wash your feet. However, don’t soak your feet.
4. Inspect Your Feet Daily
Since nerve damage makes it difficult to feel when you have cracks or sores in your feet, you need to inspect your feet daily. As you inspect your feet, look for any change in sores, color or cracked skin.
You can as well place the mirror on the floor so that you can see under your feet. If you aren’t stable enough to stand on one, ask a relative or a friend for help.
Also, you need to promote blood supply to the feet. When sitting, put your feet up, wiggle your toes and ensure you do some light exercises. These actions help to boost blood supply to your feet.
5. Is Your Blood Sugar Level in Check?
You need to keep your blood sugar level in check since a too low or too high blood sugar level is likely to damage your nerve cells. This will lead to neuropathy.
If you’re able to control your blood sugar level, you’re likely to have healthier feet in the long run. Remember, high blood sugar levels make it challenging for your body to fight infection.
6. Do Low-Impact Exercises
If you’re diabetic, you’ll benefit from exercise. But, what’s the best kind of exercise? Well, there is no specific recommendation but be careful about the exercises you do.
Some high-impact exercises such as leaping, jumping and bouncing may not favor your feet. This is particularly the case if you have neuropathy.
Instead, focus on doing low-impact exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, and Tai Chi that don’t exert significant pressure on your feet. However, even with low impact exercise such as walking, just ensure you have the right shoe.
7. Do You Have Podiatry Shoes?
Wearing the right shoes is a very important factor in diabetic foot care. Do you know there are shoes that are specifically made for people with diabetes? Orthopaedic footwear is a perfect example of such shoe.
Orthotic shoes can be used together with additional devices called orthotics to minimize pressure on the wearer’s feet. These shoes are recommended for diabetic patients who have sore or ulcer that’s not healing. However, it’s best to consult your doctor before purchasing these shoes.
8. Keep Your Feet Dry
Make sure the spaces between your toes remain as dry as possible. This space is very airtight and your skin is likely to get moist and form the best environment for infection.
How do you keep your feet dry all the time? After washing your feet, you need to towel off thoroughly and also remove sweaty or wet socks or shoes immediately.
Some doctors advise use moisturizer to prevent your skin from getting dry to the extent of cracking. However, you shouldn’t put the moisturizer in between your toes.
9. Are You Aware That the Seemingly Harmless Calluses Can Result in Problems?
The seemingly harmless calluses if left unattended can actually compromise your feet’s health. This is why you should consider setting an appointment with a podiatrist as part of diabetic foot care program.
Since podiatrists specialize in foot care, you no longer need to visit the pharmacy for feet foot care products. Some of over the counter products may irritate your skin and worsen your condition.
Consult Your Diabetes Healthcare Professionals for Diabetic Foot Care Information
Your diabetes healthcare team and your doctor are major sources of diabetic foot care information. Ask them for advice on how to take care of your feet. However, you need to commit to their advice. Advice such as keeping watch on ‘numbers’ – your blood sugar, weight, and other factors of health should be taken seriously.
You don’t have to wait until it’s time for your regular checkup to see your doctor. Any change on your feet is a reason enough to set an appointment with your doctor.
Check out our home page to find all the information you need to ensure proper diabetic foot care.