Even small cuts could have serious consequences for your feet if you are diabetic. Diabetes can cause nerve damage in your feet which creates a lack of feeling. A reduction of blood flow makes it more difficult for wounds to heal and for resisting infections. If you do not notice a small stone or pebble in your shoe because you can’t feel it, you could develop a blister or sore and not be aware of it. If something as small as a blister goes undetected, it could lead to infection. An infection can become severe very quickly for diabetics, leading to an amputation of the toe, foot, or leg.
It is important to avoid serious foot problems that could result in amputation. The following guidelines will help you keep your feet and legs healthy:
- Inspect your feet daily. Look for blisters, cuts, swelling or redness, and nail problems. Use a magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call you physician if you notice anything unusual.
- Be gentle when washing your feet. Use a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by patting or blotting. Carefully dry between the toes.
- Wash your feet in lukewarm water. Wash your feet daily in lukewarm, not hot, water.
- Use moisturizer on your feet daily. DO NOT moisturize between your toes! This could encourage a fungal infection.
- Cut your nails very carefully. Cut straight across and do not file the edges. Be careful not to them too short, which could lead to ingrown toenails.
- Never trim your corns or calluses. This is a job for your doctor.
- Wear dry, clean socks. Make sure you change them daily.
- Wear the correct type of socks. Stay away from tight elastic bands because they reduce circulation. Do not wear thick or bulky socks because they fit poorly and irritate your skin.
- Wear socks to bed, especially if your feet get cold at night. NEVER use a heating pad on your feet.
- Inspect the inside of your shoes before you put them on. Shake them out to be sure there are no pebbles inside.
- Keep your feet warm and dry. Don’t let your feet get wet and always wear warm socks and shoes when it’s cold.
- Never walk barefoot, not even at home. You could step on something and get a scratch or cut.
- Take care of your diabetes. Always keep your blood sugar levels under control.
- Do not smoke. It restricts the blood flow in your feet.
- Get periodic foot exams. See your podiatrist on a regular basis for an examination to help prevent complications associated with diabetes.
If you have any questions and would like to speak to the experts on diabetic foot care, please contact Atlantic Foot & Ankle Associates with offices in Orange City, Palm Coast, Daytona Beach, and Port Orange. We want to keep you healthy and on your feet!