Foot care tips for diabetics
What is diabetic foot?
A diabetic foot is a foot which shows a pathology that results directly from a long-term complication of the diabetes mellitus. The presence of several characteristic diabetic foot pathologies such as infection, diabetic foot ulcer and also neuropathic osteoarthropathy is called diabetic foot syndrome.
What is diabetic neuropathy?
Diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage which can occur if you have diabetes. High blood sugar can injure your nerve fibers throughout your body, but diabetic neuropathy most often damages nerves in your legs and feet.
Diabetic neuropathy is a common and also serious complication of diabetes. Yet you can often prevent diabetic neuropathy or slow its progress with tight blood sugar control and by a healthy lifestyle.
Diabetic neuropathy symptoms include:
- Burning, stabbing or electric shock sensations
- Numbness (loss of feeling)
- Insensitivity to pain and/or temperature
- Muscle weakness
- Poor coordination
- Muscle cramping and/or twitching
- Extreme sensitivity to even the lightest touch
Symptoms get worse at night.
If you have diabetes, here are few top foot care tips to help keep your feet healthy:
Keep your blood sugar within a target range
If your blood sugars remain elevated or out of target range, it may cause damage to your nerves system and blood vessels. The circulation of blood to your feet may eventually become narrowed or blocked. Over time, high blood sugars could cause the nerves going to your feet to become inefficient, which in turn could lead to a loss of feeling pain in your feet known as “diabetic sensory neuropathy.” One of the best ways to prevent problems with your feet is to do your best to keep your blood sugar within a target range by taking your medications and insulin as prescribed, eat a healthy diet and stay physically active.
Poor circulation is 20-30 times more common in people with diabetes, and proper circulation is essential for a foot wound to heal. Add smoking into the mix, and you are looking at seriously diminished blood flow to your feet and make wounds heal more slowly. If your circulation is impaired, you will have a more difficult time healing a foot wound like a blister or a cut. Therefore, if you smoke, it’s essential to quit right away. Contact your health care provider today for help to stop smoking.
Clean your feet daily
Keeping your feet clean is an essential part of daily foot care. Wash your feet from top to bottom every day with warm water. Remember to wash the area between your toes and under your feet. This ritual will help you notice if there are any changes in your feet, too. Make sure to use mild soap and a soft cloth or gentle sponge.
Always keep your feet clean and dry
After you are done washing your feet, make sure you dry them thoroughly, especially between your toes. Be gentle and don’t rub your feet vigorously when you are drying.
Slather on the moisturizer
Apply moisturizer to your feet at least once a day; if you have very dry skin, do this 4 to 5 times a day. The best moisturizers contain olive, jojoba, vegetable oil, almond, or aloe vera. Always avoid moisturizer and lotions with alcohol. As the alcohol evaporates it takes moisture from the skin. If you are allergic to certain scents, avoid moisturizers with perfumes and dyes. If you typically shower before bed and your feet are super dry, try this quick tip, dry feet thoroughly, apply lotion to your feet, and put a pair of socks on. Having feet covered overnight will help the moisturizer soak in. Plus, your bed sheets stay clean.
Select the proper socks
Choose socks which are made of synthetic fibers. These synthetic fibers draw moisture away from the skin so that it can evaporate, reducing the chance of developing an infection. Select socks without tight elastic bands, to help circulation. Toss any socks with holes and stay away from nylon stockings (as nylon is not a breathable fabric.) Always wear clean socks and change them out if they get wet from perspiration or the weather.
Foot lesions, especially leg ulcerations, are common in patients with diabetes. If treatment is delayed or inappropriate treatment is rendered, the lesion can become more infected, resulting in gangrene and/or amputation. Physicians, clinics, and wound-healing centers that follow a rigid protocol, including aggressive therapy and repeated education of the patient in foot care, have reduced amputation rates by 50% or more.