Diabetes can mean double trouble for your feet. First, diabetes can reduce blood flow to your feet, depriving your feet of oxygen and nutrients. This makes it more difficult for blisters, sores, and cuts to heal. And second, the diabetic nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy can cause numbness in your feet. When you can’t feel cuts and blisters, you’re more likely to get sores and infections.
If you don’t notice or treat the sores, they can become deeply infected and lead to ulcers and possibly amputation.
Diabetic peripheral neuropathy can also cause sharp pain in your feet. You may become excruciatingly sensitive to the lightest touch, like the sheets on your bed.
Luckily, a little TLC goes a long way in preventing foot problems from diabetes.
An ounce of prevention:
- Bathe your feet daily in lukewarm (not hot) soapy water and rinse thoroughly. Carefully and gently with a soft towel, pat (don’t rub) your feet dry, especially between the toes.
- Wear clean socks – change them daily and discard them when they are worm.
- Wear shoes that fit well – snug, but not tight. To help assure dryness, change to a different pair each day. Keep your shoes in good condition. Our foot specialists can fit you with orthotics to support your feet if you have diabetic nerve pain or the muscles have become weak from nerve damage. If pain or weakness is so severe that it’s too painful or even impossible to walk, a foot brace or orthopedic shoes might help. A pedorthist is your best source for these devices.
- Break in new shoes gradually – wear them just a few hours each day.
- Keep your toenails trimmed neatly, straight across and even with the toes. File sharp edges with emery board – be sure not to dig under the toenail or around the cuticle.
- Do not attempt to trim your own corns or calluses or use commercial corn remedies.
- Wear shoes or slippers around the house or at the beach – bare feet invite injury.
- Avoid extremes of cold or heat – if your feet are cold, wear warm socks. Never use hot water bottles or heating pads. Protect your feet from sunburn.
- Avoid wearing anything tight around your legs or ankles that might in any way reduce the blood supply to your feet.
- AVOID SMOKING – this reduces circulation to your feet.
- EXAMINE YOUR FEET DAILY
- If you notice cracks between your toes, sores, blisters or any discolouration or swelling – REPORT IT IMMEDIATELY, EVEN IF YOU HAVE NOT PAIN.
Our foot care program:
In diabetics, foot related problems can escalate if left untreated. That’s why we create a foot-care plan that’s tailored to your needs, and recommend frequent visits to see us. During a check-up, we examine the skin and nails on your feet for irritations.
We also test blood flow and nerve damage, and check for bone, joint and muscle problems. Moreover, we can guide you in self-care practices and teach you how to recognize potential issues and warning signs.
If you’ve got diabetes, the right footwear coupled with a customized orthotic and regular check-ups from our foot care team can help prevent foot wounds and deformities. With every step you take, we can help to keep you on the right path to maintain your optimum foot health.