Diabetic Foot Care

Diabetic Foot Care

Feet are a very delicate area when it comes to diabetes. Any small wound has the potential to become a serious situation very quickly. Two conditions of the feet which are common to diabetics are:

  • Nerve damage which will reduce and even stop feeling in the feet

  • Reduction of blood flow to the feet which makes it hard to resist infection and recover from injuries

As a result from these conditions, you have a higher risk of developing a sore or blister, and any wound in your foot such as this has a high probability of becoming a nonhealing wound with an infection. This is a perfect pathway to risk amputation of toes and even the entire foot.

Following these guidelines is a way in which you may avoid serious foot problems as a diabetic (Always consult with your physician before making any changes to your personal health care):

Stay in control of your diabetes: Monitor your blood sugar levels and work to keep them under control.

Do not smoke: Blood flow to your feet will further restrict blood flow to your feet.

Daily foot inspection: you should look for redness, swelling, blisters, cuts, or anything that looks unusual on your feet. As well special attention should be paid to any toenail problems. You should use a hand mirror with magnification to carefully inspect the bottoms of your feet. You should contact your doctor immediately if you find anything out of the ordinary.

Nail Care - Trimming:  Special care should be given to your toenails. To avoid ingrown toenails be sure to not cut the nail very short. Your nails should be cut straight across and the edges then filed to smooth them. If you are not sure you are cutting your nails correctly or cannot cut them yourself, seek a consultation with your primary care physician or find a qualified podiatrist right away.

Calluses and corn care: Do not self-treat your feet for calluses or corns. Do not use medicated pads or try to remove calluses yourself. Seek care from your physician immediately for proper treatment.

Bathing your feet: Wash your feet every day to ensure they are clean, this is also the opportunity to inspect your feet. Bath feet in lukewarm water only. Never hot water. Use the same temperature water you would use to bathe a baby.

Be careful in bathing your feet: Use a soft sponge or washcloth when bathing your feet. Use soft pressure. Do not scrub at your feet with a towel to fry your feet. Once more, be gentle and pat or blot at your feet to dry them, being careful to dry between your toes.

Keep feet moisturized: To avoid dry skin that would crack or itch, moisturize your feet daily. Use a small amount and gently rub it into your skin. Do not put moisturizer between your toes, this may lead to fungal infections.

Antiperspirant for dry feet: As it is important to keep your feet dry for healthy skin. If you have sweaty feet, you can put antiperspirant on the soles of your feet to reducing the sweating.

Dry, clean socks: Your socks must be changed daily! Use clean dry socks.

Socks worn to bed: If you experience cold feet at night, wear warm socks. Using a heating pad or hot water bottle has a risk of burns to the feet for those with nerve damage who will not feel if the heating pad or hot water bottle is too hot.

Use socks made for diabetic patients: There are socks made for people with diabetes. They do not have elastic tops to reduce risks of further reducing blood flow to your feet. They also have more cushioning to protect the feet from possible pressure wounds and are made of a material that will help keep the feet dry by removing moisture from the skin.

Dry, Warm feet: You should wear socks and shoes that will keep your feet warm in winter weather. It is very important to keep your feet dry in the rain or snow. Feet that get wet and stay wet can develop skin problems quickly which may result in wounds.

Barefoot walking is off limits: Always wear shoes or slippers, even in the home! It is easy to step on something or hit your foot on something and cut or scratch your foot or damage a toenail.

Check your shoes before putting them on your feet: It is important to always check your shoes for small objects that could cause a wound to your feet. Remember that nerve damage is common with diabetes and you may not be able to feel a problem starting.

Foot exams with your podiatrist: Along with the important measures you should follow for the daily care of your feet, you should see your podiatrist for regular foot exams to monitor the condition of your feet and prevent complications that may result from your diabetes.