Taking care of any part of your body is essential, as having a healthy body is the best offense against disease. But, as a diabetic, you have to pay more attention and take special care of a particular body part: your feet.
When you have diabetes, it means that your extremities, such as your feet, get less blood, which translates to numerous possible health problems. The worst of which is amputation.
If you are diabetic, or you know someone who is, here are some tips on how to take better care of your feet.
Never Go Barefoot
Always try to keep your shoes and your socks on. Going barefoot around the house, or anywhere, is not a good idea because you can get injured and possibly not know it happened. Also, ensure that the socks and shoes that you wear are fit properly to avoid cramping, or the footwear sliding off.
If you get any kind of wound, and you notice a delay in healing, go see your podiatrist; the sooner the better.
Always have your doctor check your feet whenever you go for a visit, or better yet, you can also set an appointment with a podiatrist.
Heat Is Not Your Friend
At home, you will need to wear warmer socks if your feet get cold. But remember not to use heating pads, heated water bottles, fireplaces, heaters, or electric blankets. You won’t feel it if you’ve already burned your feet.
And though it’s tempting to wear sandals or go barefoot, especially in the summer, you may want to avoid this if you have diabetes. Exposure to warm temperatures, even if this means a few minutes of walking on a hot sidewalk without shoes, can burn your skin.
It’s imperative to put on sunscreen if you’re at the beach, even if you’re wearing shoes. Avoid sandals because this can injure your feet.
Don’t forget to check your feet daily for cuts, redness, blisters, sores, or anything that wasn’t there before. A mirror is handy when checking your soles.
Your feet should be washed with soap and water, and then dried, especially in between the toes.
Do not soak your feet in the water as this can break your skin down. A moisturizer is good, but not in between your toes because this area is prone to developing bacteria and should be kept dry. Moisturizing socks are a great alternative and can be worn to sleep.
It might be a good idea to ask your doctor to cut your toenails. This is to avoid ingrown nails that might lead to an infection. However, if you need to trim your nails on your own, cut straight across. Use a nail file or emery board to smoothen the corners.
Diabetics already have problems with their circulation and smoking leads to just that. This means that you will most likely get peripheral neuropathy, or nerve damage, and infections. Smoking also leads to slow wound healing.
Don’t Postpone Treating Problems
Even if it’s just a blister or a scratch on your feet, you have to do something about it. Any open wound on your feet can lead to infection. The first thing to do is to wash with soap and water. Then apply a mild antibiotic ointment and cover it with a bandage afterward. This bandage should be changed daily.
If you already have athlete’s foot, use an antifungal cream. You can also use this cream if you want to avoid getting a fungal infection.
If you get any kind of wound, and you notice a delay in healing, go see your podiatrist; the sooner the better. If you have calluses or corns, let your doctor remove them for you. Do not attempt to do it on your own.