Diabetic people are susceptible to foot problems since the illness can damage blood vessels and nerves in the feet, reducing essential blood flow. Their cuts and sores don’t heal as fast or as well as they do in non-diabetic people, causing harmful infection. Read on to learn about how special diabetic foot care will help maintain overall well-being.
Inspect Your Feet Every Day
The key to maintaining healthy feet is checking them every day. Use a mirror or ask your loved one to look for the following:
- Ingrown toenails
Set a specific time every day to do this and use good lighting. You’ll identify minor problems early on to seek proper medical care. Don’t pop any blisters you find, as this could aggravate the situation. Instead, bandage them, and talk to your doctor to determine the best course of action.
Wash Your Feet in Lukewarm Water
Always maintain proper hygiene, especially if you have cuts. Use lukewarm water — the kind you’d use on a newborn— and mild soap. Then, pat your feet dry to avoid fungal infections.
After drying, apply a mild lotion or petroleum jelly to your feet. Avoid applying oil between your toenails, which can be uncomfortable and cause infections. During the winter, use a moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out. This will stop your feet from cracking.
Wear Diabetic Socks
While socks help to keep your feet warm, not all are recommended. Buy specially-made diabetic socks as they cushion your feet, increasing blood flow and preventing infections. Ideal diabetic socks have:
- A light color to highlight blood in case of bleeding
- Stretchy cuffs to ensure proper blood circulation
- Softness and thickness to protect your feet
- Moisture-wicking fabric to reduce moisture
Avoid socks made purely of nylon and cotton. Nylon restricts airflow to the feet, and cotton takes too long to dry. Diabetic socks should be breathable and dry fast.
Find the Right Shoes
Finding well-fitting shoes can help maintain healthy feet. Wearing shoes that are too tight restricts blood flow and may cause further nerve damage. Try on all your shoes to ensure they are comfortable, before buying them.
It may be difficult for people with neuropathy to feel when shoes are too tight. If this is the case for you, trace your feet on a piece of paper, preferably at the end of the day when they’re the most swollen. Then, trace your shoes on another paper and compare the two. Always trace your feet while standing, as this gives a more accurate picture of your feet’ shapes.
Focus on finding shoes with a cushioned sole to alleviate pressure as you walk. Choose those with laces as they can be easier to adjust in case of swelling. Break in all new shoes slowly, preferably for only a few hours during the first few days. This will help your feet adjust to the new fit and prevent swelling once you start wearing them.
Protect Your Feet
One of the best ways to protect your feet is by wearing shoes with socks at all times. Look for shoes with hard soles if you walk on rocks to prevent cuts. Wear boots during the winter and slippers at home to keep your feet warm. Remember, cold and moisture are your greatest enemies.
Inspect shoes before wearing them to check if there are objects that could irritate your feet. Do this daily if you have neuropathy, as you may not feel the objects once you wear your shoes.
Talk to Your Doctor
Schedule regular doctor appointments to make sure your feet are in good condition. Your doctor will check them and recommend treatments if they identify problems. They’ll also offer valuable foot care and lifestyle tips to ensure your well-being.
Follow These Diabetic Foot Care Tips
If you’re diabetic, it is important to regularly do your diabetic foot care steps. Start your days by inspecting your feet for issues that need medical attention. The faster you seek help, the better your feet will be.
Maintain foot hygiene, wear proper socks and shoes, and see your doctor for regular checks. Following these tips will alleviate foot problems caused by diabetes.