For most diabetics, foot care is part of their daily routine. This is no surprise as diabetes is not only a blood sugar problem, but also a disease that causes nerve and blood vessel damage. This can lead to the development of neuropathy where you lose feeling in your hands and feet.
The problem with neuropathy is not necessarily losing sensation in your extremities, but the fact that you don’t feel pain so it becomes easier to cut or scratch yourself. Once you have diabetes these small cuts and scratches can lead to serious infections if not treated properly.
It is for this very reason that we have compiled some of the best foot care advice from professionals. Here are our top suggestions:
- Keep your skin dry.
There is a reason why this one is first. Damp areas are a breeding ground for bacteria. Make sure you dry your feet properly, especially the space between your toes.
Make sure to remove wet/sweaty socks immediately.
It’s safe to use foot cream for cracked or dry skin but don’t apply it between your toes.
- Inspect feet often.
Doctors advise that you check your feet daily. The reason why you need to make time for daily checks is because most diabetics develop neuropathy. Because of nerve damage you don’t necessarily feel sores or cracks on your feet. Also look out for changes in colour in localised areas.
- Skip overly hot baths.
Because of neuropathy diabetics are not always adept at determining whether the temperature of bath water is safe. It is entirely possible to burn your skin to the point of forming blisters which can lead to infection. It is always safer to test water temperature with your elbow.
- Treat any foot problems promptly.
Attend to bunions, calluses, corns, etc. promptly so that they don’t lead to infection due to pressure and uneven rubbing from footwear.
Be wary when buying foot products over the counter as some of these can lead to irritation which could make the problem worse. A podiatrist can make the best recommendations.
- Avoid walking around barefoot.
People often forget that shoes are not only important when outside, for diabetics the risk of small cuts and scratches lie within the house as well. Consider wearing socks or slippers if you don’t want to wear shoes to avoid stepping in glass, splinters or thumbtacks.
- Invest in proper footwear & socks.
Shoes with more depth in the toe box that offer good coverage of the top and bottom are the best fit. Prominent seams can also rub on the foot and cause blisters or sores.
When buying socks always opt for materials that control moisture.
While this is not a necessity it does help to buy shoes made for diabetics because they offer the best comfort and protection, especially if you are struggling with sores that don’t heal properly.
- When exercising opt for non-impact aerobic exercise.
There is nothing better than getting some exercise to regulate your blood sugar and body weight. As a diabetic, opt for exercise that doesn’t include excessive jumping, leaping or bouncing. Always make sure that you wear the correct shoes and go easy on your feet afterwards.
- Quit Smoking, now!
Nicotine can decrease circulation in the skin by 70%. When you smoke you deprive your feet of nutrient- and oxygen rich blood which keeps your feet healthy and fights infection. As a diabetic you already suffer from nerve damage, cut the smoking out to avoid any additional harm.
- Control Blood Sugar.
Your blood sugar level is directly related to the damage level of your nerve cells. Eventually intense damage leads to neuropathy. The health of your feet will increase if your blood sugar is balanced and your ability to fight infection grows stronger. Avoid sugary food and opt for Lekker Sweets as a treat! You can also grab your copy of the diabetic friendly dessert guide at 80% discount for a limited time right here.
We hope that these tips help you to keep your feet healthy and happy. Make sure to visit your doctor often to find out about new technology and treatments. If you have any questions or would like to share a piece of advice with fellow diabetics, please leave a comment below! We would love to hear from you!