When you live with diabetes, there are a lot of things you need to do to ensure you continue a healthy and active life, from watching your diet and exercising to managing your weight and monitoring glucose levels. It’s also important to protect your feet from harm.
Nerve damage is often associated with diabetes, as is poor circulation. The combination of these two conditions can lead to dangerous consequences. You can easily injure your foot without feeling or realizing it, and the longer the wound goes unnoticed, the more likely it is to become infected due to reduced blood flow inhibiting the arrival of healing nutrients. This can result in serious complications, and left untreated, can even lead to amputation.
The best way to prevent diabetic foot problems is to perform diabetic self-foot exams as part of your daily routine. Here’s how:
Sit with one foot resting on your opposite knee. Look for any cuts, scratches, blisters, abrasions, cracks in your heels, or anything else out of the ordinary. Check your skin for changes in temperature and color. Be sure to look between your toes and exam your nails for any signs of toenail fungus, such as thickness and discoloration. You can use a hand mirror for hard to see places or you can always ask a loved one to help. Do this with both feet, every day. Right before you hop into bed is a perfect time! If you see any signs of trouble, wash your foot with mild soap and water, dry thoroughly, cover the abrasion with a bandage, then call your doctor. Remember, even the smallest of wounds can quickly snowball into a major problem, so be sure to address an issue as soon as possible. A diligent daily routine is key!
Other ways you can protect your feet include:
- Avoid going barefoot.
- Keep feet clean and dry.
- Check your shoes for any obstructions before sliding your feet inside.
- Keep toenails trimmed.
- Prevent dry skin by applying moisturizer – but not between your toes!
- Exercise, take a warm bath, or massage feet to encourage good circulation.
- Contact our expert team of healthcare professionals if you have questions or need help of any kind.