For those that are currently suffering from diabetes, it is important to decrease the chances of developing foot problems that could easily lead to the loss of a leg, foot or a toe. The following will guide you through how to care for your feet and avoid further medical complications due to diabetes. Keep in mind that this is merely a guide to be used in order for you to create your very own plan for the care and maintenance of your feet.
Additionally, you will need to contact a medical professional immediately should you develop a bruise, blister or cut that refuses to heal after a few days.
Why is Foot Care Important?
Over time, your feet can begin to lose feeling due to diabetes. As feeling is lost, it can become impossible for you to feel a pebble that has become wedged inside your sock or a blister that has formed on your foot. The decreasing of blood flow and numbness with a person’s feet has the ability to lead to foot complications and issues.
Foot care is even more imperative for those that suffer from the following as well:
- Numbness and/or tingling in the feet
- Pain within feet
- Changes in the shape of either toes or feet
- Ulcers, cuts or sores on the feet that refuse to heal
With daily care of your feet, you will be able to decrease the chances of losing a leg, foot, or toe. Additionally, managing your blood sugar can assist in keeping healthy feet. Work cooperatively with your health care team in order to compile a complete plan for your overall health and wellbeing. This team will need to consist of the following for optimal results to be garnered:
- Your primary care physician
- A diabetes educator
- A nurse
- A podiatrist (foot doctor)
Foot Care and Maintenance Guidelines/Tips
The following will guide you through how to maintain healthy feet while suffering from diabetes.
Check your Feet Daily
Each day, you should diligently check your feet for the following ailments:
- Red spots
- Infected toe nails
This is incredibly important, because you may be experiencing loss of feeling and not recognize that an issue is brewing or already exits. The most optimal time to check your feet is in the evening as you remove your shoes. If you are finding it difficult to bend over and properly examine your feet, it is possible to use a mirror for assistance. You can also opt for the assistance of a family member or caregiver in this matter.
Wash Your Feet Daily
You need to wash your feet in warm water each day. Make sure that the water is not hot and do NOT soak your feet either. Soaking will cause your feet to become dry, which can prove problematic with your medical condition. It is best to utilize cornstarch or talcum powder to keep the skin between the toes dry in order to prevent infection.
Keep Skin Smooth and Soft
Daily, you will need to rub a thin coating of either petroleum jelly, cream or lotion over both the top and bottom of both feet. Do NOT put lotion between your toes, due to the fact that this may lead to an infection.
Gently Smooth Out Calluses and Corns
Calluses and/or corns (basically thick patches of skin) have the ability to grow of your feet. Should this occur, you will need to consult your podiatrist as to the very best methods of care for your level of condition. More than likely, the doctor will instruct you to use a pumice stone for the smoothing of the thick patches after a shower or bath. This should be done gently in a single direction so as to not risk tearing the skin.
NEVER use any of the following, because they will cause infection and damage to the skin:
- Razor blades
- Corn plasters
- Liquid callus or corn removers
Trim Toenails Regularly……If you Can Feel, Reach and See your Feet
So long as you have the ability to fee, reach and see your feet, after they have been thoroughly washed and dried, you will need to trim the toenails with nail clippers ONLY. They will need to be trimmed straight across and an emery board will need to be used to smooth the corners. This will prevent the nails from growing inward into the skin. NEVER cut the corners of toenails.
A podiatrist should trim your toenails, should any of the following occur:
- You are no longer able to feel or see your feet
- You are unable to reach your feet
- The toenails have become yellow or thick
- Your toenails have become curved and are growing into the skin
Always Wear Shoes and Socks
NEVER walk barefoot whether indoors or outdoors. It is far too easy to accidentally step on something and cause harm to your feet. You could very well injure your foot and not feel anything, allowing further harm to ensue. Be certain to always wear nylons, stockings or socks along with shoes to avoid sores and blisters. Choose socks that fit well and are lightly padded as well as clean. Seamless socks are the very best option for your current medical condition.
Also, always check the inside of your shoes before putting them on to wear. Ensure that the lining is smooth and that there are no objects inside of them. ALWAYS wear shoes that protect your entire foot and have a proper fit.
Keep Blood Flowing
When sitting, elevate your feet and wiggle your toes for approximately 5 minutes, 2 to 3 times per day. Also, rotate your ankles to further help increase the blood flow to your legs and feet. Do NOT do any of the following:
- Cross your legs for extended periods of time
- Wear rubber bands around legs or ankles, tight elastic, tight socks
- Smoke (smoking decreases the amount of blood flow to your feet.)