Two important health problems associated with diabetes– nerve damage and poor circulation– result in a higher likelihood of foot discomfort, injuries, infections, and even amputations for diabetic individuals. If you have diabetes, it’s important to pay special attention to your feet and take good care of them. The following diabetic foot care tips may help:
1. Closely monitor your blood sugar, and carefully follow the treatment plan your doctor has recommended.
If you have diabetes, this is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself healthy, ensure a long, high-quality life, and prevent damage to your entire body– including your feet.
2. Pay attention to your feet.
If you have nerve damage, your feet may be less sensitive; you may get a cut, scrape, or blister and not realize it. Even small injuries have the potential to become infected. Every night, perhaps while bathing, take a look at your feet.
3. Treat cuts and scrapes diligently.
Due to reduced blood flow, injuries are more likely to become infected in diabetic people. Proper care of injuries can greatly reduce the risk of infection. Wash the cut carefully, apply an antibiotic ointment twice daily, and put on a clean self-adhesive bandage. Talk to your doctor if you see signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge of pus.
4. Wear properly-fitting shoes.
Poorly-fitting shoes can cause blisters, soreness, and muscle strain. Also, if you walk on a surface that may have broken glass or thorns, lightweight or open-toe shoes, such as flip-flops or sandals, may increase your risk of cuts or puncture wounds.
5. Regulate the temperature of your feet.
If you have reduced sensation in your feet, you may not be as sensitive to heat and cold. Feel your toes with your hands to see if they are cold to the touch. If they are, put on socks. Body temperature drops during sleep, so you might consider sleeping in socks, even in the summer. Wear thicker socks in winter.
When it comes to our health, taking care of our bodies can greatly improve our current quality of life, our quality of life in the future, and the number of quality years we have left. This is true for everyone, but especially so for people with diabetes. Having the foresight to take care of your feet now can greatly reduce your risk of disability later on.
As with any health issue, talk to one of our doctors at American Foot and Leg Specialists if you have questions or concerns, or would like more advice about diabetic foot care.