Living well with diabetes involves more than managing your blood sugar levels. It also requires extra attention to your overall health, especially foot care. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, affecting circulation and reducing sensation in your feet.
This combination means that a minor injury to your feet can quickly escalate into severe problems. As such, meticulous foot care is critical for those living with diabetes. The skilled team at Platte River Foot and Ankle Associates in Hastings, Nebraska, are dedicated to providing top-tier diabetic foot care to help patients with diabetes keep their feet as healthy as possible.
To get started, we’ve put together five tips to take good care of your feet and reduce the risk of diabetes-related foot complications.
It's essential to inspect your feet at least once a day. Look at the tops, bottoms, sides, between your toes, and your heels. Incorporate this routine into your daily schedule, perhaps in the morning or evening. If you have difficulty seeing certain parts of your feet, ask for assistance or use a mirror.
Look out for blisters, cuts, red or raw spots, swelling, or anything unusual. With blood circulation possibly impaired in your feet, you should take minor wounds seriously.
Of course, you wash your feet daily, but do you also clean between your toes? It's crucial for patients with diabetes to clean every part of their feet, including the bottoms, daily. Use warm, soapy water on your feet, rinse thoroughly, and dry completely. Leaving your feet damp could increase your risk of infection.
If the skin on your feet gets thick and hard, it's more likely to become dry and cracked, leading to infection and improper wound healing. To prevent this, apply a moisturizer or lotion daily to the tops and bottoms of your feet.
Remember to hydrate your heels, where the skin is prone to thicken, harden, and crack.
It's advisable to consistently wear socks and shoes to shield your feet, even at home. Don’t risk injuring a bare foot with a scrape or stub that could fail to heal. The only exception is when you're bathing.
If you prefer slippers at home, choose those that fully cover your feet. When purchasing shoes, try them on in the store. Ensure they're comfortable, provide ample space for your toes, and don't chafe any part of your foot.
Regardless of how tempted you might be, never walk barefoot.
Considering that patients with diabetes often face circulation issues, it's critical to keep your feet in motion throughout the day. Simple movements are sufficient — wiggle your toes, tap your feet, or roll your ankles.
If you're seated for extended periods, get up and move regularly. Strive to take at least one walk each day or, better yet, multiple short walks.
Partnering with a podiatrist is an essential aspect of diabetic foot care. Potential issues can get identified early with regular checkups. Our team can provide expert advice tailored to your specific needs and guide you in maintaining optimal foot health.