When you live with diabetes, you spend more time thinking about foot care than most people.
According to the American Diabetes Association, 20 percent of all diabetic people will seek hospital care due to foot trouble. Improper foot care can eventually lead to you losing a toe, foot or leg.
But if you take diligent care of your feet, you can avoid this awful scenario. That’s why we’ve put together this list of diabetic foot care tips:
1. Inspect your feet every day
Each day, check your feet for blisters, cuts, redness, swelling, cracks and sores. If you see any of these signs, or feel pain, tingling or burning, consult a doctor. Use a mirror to get a closer look at your soles.
You should also:
- Avoid soaking your feet, as this can break down your skin.
- Wash your feet each day, taking extra care to dry between the toes.
- When applying moisturizer, avoid the skin between your toes, as this area needs to remain dry to keep bacterial from forming.
- Consider wearing moisturizing socks when you go to bed to prevent your heels from cracking.
- Have your doctor trim your toenails to avoid ingrown nails and infections.
If you must trim your nails at home, make sure you cut straight across, as curved nails are more likely to become ingrown. Use an emery board or nail file to smooth the corners of the nails.
2. Wear comfortable shoes
Comfortable shoes are a key part of diabetic foot care. Look for shoes that fit well when you try them on. And never buy shoes that are too tight, based on the assumption that they will eventually stretch out. Break in new shoes slowly, wearing them only an hour or two at a time for the first week or so.
Diabetes can cause you to lose sensation in your feet, and so you may not feel pressure from shoes that don’t fit well. Blisters and sore can form when your foot is pressed against the inside of your shoe. Check your shoes before putting them on, and avoid going barefoot. You might incur a foot injury that you don’t notice right away.
3. Invest in the right socks
Look for socks that have no seams, preferably ones that are padded and made from cotton or other materials that control moisture. Wear warms socks in wintry weather, and don’t stay outdoors too long. Socks or stocking that have holes can put damaging pressure on your toes.
4. Treat foot wounds right away
Even minor foot irritations can become major problems if left untreated. Corns, calluses, and bunions should get prompt attention, so they don’t turn into infections. See a podiatrist when you spot these issues, rather than just going to the drug store and attempting to remove them yourself.
Wash sores or blisters with soap and water, and cover with a bandage, taking care to change the bandage right away. If you’re dealing with athlete’s foot, treat it with an anti-fungal cream, or you can apply the cream as a preventative measure.
5. Give up smoking
Smoking is harmful whether you have diabetes or not, but quitting/avoiding cigarettes is a major step on your path to diabetic foot care.
Smoking can cause poor circulation, and prevent nutrient-rich, oxygen-rich blood from reaching your toes. This leads to neuropathy – or nerve damage – and infections, and prevent proper wound healing.
If you’re searching for a pair of shoes or socks to help you cope with diabetes, contact Marx Medical. We work with Dr. Comfort, a company that makes custom diabetic shoes designed to fit each customer.
And because we recognize that many of our diabetic customers deal with mobility trouble, we’re happy to provide free fitting and delivery.