7 Ways Diabetics Can Protect their Feet - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on November 11, 2016

7 Ways Diabetics Can Protect their Feet

November is American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month

November is American Diabetes Month and for diabetics, foot care is hugely important.

That’s because diabetics often have issues with their feet – the high levels of sugar in their bloodstream can decrease blood flow to the feet, depriving it of much-needed oxygen and nutrients. Consequently, blisters, sores and cuts tend to heal slowly, and can sometimes grow into much more significant health problems. Unfortunately, there’s more bad news – too much glucose (sugar) in your blood causes nerve damage in your feet.

Because of these potential issues, diabetics have to take special care of their feet. If you’re diabetic, here’s what you need to do.

Check Your Feet Daily

Diabetics should carefully inspect both feet every day, looking for blisters, red spots, cuts, swelling or infections. If you can’t see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help; don’t leave it to chance. If you notice any issues, contact your podiatrist.

Wash Your Feet Daily

After you’re done checking them, wash your feet with soap and water. This will help to ward off any potential infections if you have sores or cuts. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly and apply moisturizing lotion afterward – but not between your toes, an area susceptible to fungal infections.

Trim Your Toenails Regularly

It’s important to keep your toenails cleaned up and healthy. Cut them after you come out of the shower, when they’re soft. Cut straight across, not along the curve of your toe. And don’t cut them too short – this can lead to ingrown toenails.

Buy Shoes that Fit Properly

Shoes that don’t fit properly can rub against your skin and cause blisters – and if you have some nerve damage you might not even feel them. Additionally, you should always wear clean, dry socks, preferably with some padding to help cushion your feet. Avoid socks with tight elastic bands.

Don’t Smoke

By now, you’ve surely heard that smoking is bad for your health. Well, that includes the health of your feet. Smoking can further restrict the already lessened blood flow of a diabetic.

Control Your Blood Sugar Levels

You’re hopefully paying close attention to this anyway, and here’s another reason to do so. Maintaining proper blood glucose levels will help maintain proper blood flow and prevent nerve pain.

Don’t Mess Around with Problem Wounds

If you have sores, cuts or ulcers on your feet that don’t get better in eight weeks with regular medical care, you need to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will be able to create a wound treatment plan. Ignoring this type of injury can, in extreme circumstances, lead to amputation – so it’s vitally important that you take care of wounds that won’t heal.

Your feet are obviously important for your mobility and independence. For diabetics, it’s especially important to pay extra attention to the health of your feet, including regular checkups to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

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