Foot-care may be the last thing on your mind when you are living with diabetes & trying to control your blood sugar. On the contrary, it is important that a person with diabetes take more care of his/her feet, as he/she is more vulnerable to foot problems.
High blood sugar can potentially damage the nerves of your feet due to reduced blood flow, resulting in you experiencing numbness or loss of feeling in your feet. As a direct result, you may not feel any blisters or cuts or wounds on your feet right away, giving them time to worsen. Even small cuts & sores can become infected if left untreated.
A good foot-care routine & foot health awareness can reduce the risk of amputation by as much as 85%, according to American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). So let’s jump right into the Dos & Don’ts of foot-care…
DOs of Foot-care at a glance:
- Maintain good blood sugar levels: Keeping your blood sugar levels in check helps to protect your feet. People with diabetes having a higher HBA1C level are at a higher risk of lower-limb amputation.
- Check your feet Daily: Thoroughly examine both your feet every day. Keep a look out for signs of dryness, infection, sores, cuts & blisters. If you cannot easily see the soles of your feet, ask a loved one for help or hold a mirror with a long handle under your feet.
- Reach out to your doctor: If you notice any calluses, warts or notice any wound that isn’t getting better within 24 hours, check in with your doctor for advice. Having your doctor take a look can prevent minor issues turning into major complications.
- Wash your feet Daily: Even if you keep your feet covered up & dry, wash your feet daily with lukewarm water & a mild soap and gently pat them dry.
- Use Socks: Make sure to use clean & soft socks, a used & sweaty socks leads to irritation, which results in infections. Your best bet would be to use Diabetic Socks, specially made for diabetics to ensure better breathing & avoid irritations.
- Moisturise: To prevent dryness & maintain healthy feet, after washing & drying your feet, always moisturise. You can use body lotions or diabetic foot-creams for this, but DO NOT put lotions/creams between your toes as they may not get absorbed.
- Choose footwear wisely: Always choose footwear that are comfortable & cover your feet completely. Talk to your podiatrist about the best shoes for the shape of your feet. You can get special diabetic footwear that can be custom made for your feet, catering to any foot complications you might be having.
DON’Ts of Foot-care at a glance:
- Ill-fitting shoes: Always avoid wearing ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes like High Heels, Pointed shoes. Also, avoid walking barefoot.
- Harsh Soaps & Soaking Feet: Avoid using harsh soaps on your feet and do not soak your feet for long durations. These weaken the skin and cause damage.
- Cutting toe nails with Blade: Never cut toe nails with a blade or a knife. Always trim your toe nails straight with a nail-cutter and then file/smoothen the edges with a nail-file/emery board.
- Self-care Treatments & Home Remedies: If you are prone to would healing problems think twice to tackle them yourselves. Avoid self-care treatments & home remedies to treat foot problems, see your doctor.
- Applying lotions between toe nails: Do not apply lotions or creams between your toe nails as there is a high risk of developing infections in those areas.
Make sure to take good care of your feet and follow all the points mentioned above.