Diabetic Foot Care: Everything You Need to Know

diabetic foot care

Diabetes involves a lot of physical health maintenance, including checking your blood sugar levels, eating healthily, taking time for exercise, taking medications, and going to doctor’s appointments. Additionally, you always want to make sure you have reliable and effective diabetic care supplies. While juggling all of these factors of diabetes care, your feet may be the last thing on your mind. However, daily foot care is important in maintaining health and preventing further complications. 

If you have diabetes, taking care of your feet is the best way to maintain your ability to function in everyday life. You must check your feet each day, even when they feel fine, and meet with your doctor if you have a cut or blister that will not heal. Additionally, about half of all people with diabetes have some kind of diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain). While you can have nerve damage in any part of your body, the nerves in your legs and feet are the most affected regarding diabetes. Unfortunately, nerve damage can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. This is why diabetic foot care is so important. 

The Dangers of Feeling No Pain

Some people who have nerve damage deal with numbness, tingling, or pain in their feet. However, some individuals may have no symptoms at all. Nerve damage also lowers an individual’s ability to feel pain, heat, and cold. 

While living without pain sounds great, it can come at a high cost. Pain is the body’s way of telling an individual that something is wrong, allowing them to take care of themselves properly. If you cannot feel pain in your feet, you may be unable to notice a cut, blister, sore, or other problem. Unfortunately, small problems can quickly become much more serious when an individual has diabetes.

Could You Have Nerve Damage?

Anyone with diabetes is at risk of developing nerve damage, however, these factors increase your risk:

  • Blood sugar levels that are difficult to manage
  • Having diabetes for a long time, especially if your blood sugar is usually higher than your target levels
  • Being overweight
  • Being older than 40 years old 
  • Having high blood pressure and high cholesterol 

Nerve damage, along with poor blood flow, puts you at risk for developing a foot ulcer (a sore or wound) that could become infected and not heal properly. Unfortunately, if an infection doesn’t get better with treatment, your toe, foot, or part of your leg may need to be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading and to save your life.

However, when you check your feet every day, you will be able to catch any issues early on and get them treated immediately. Early treatment greatly reduces your risk of complications such as infection and amputation.

Tips for Diabetic Foot Care to Maintain Healthy Feet

Check them Regularly

You should be checking your feet regularly for any cuts, redness, swelling, sores, blisters, corns, calluses, and any changes in the skin or nails. If you cannot see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask a family member or caretaker for help. 

Wash Your Feet Daily

You should wash your feet in warm water, rather than hot water. It’s important not to soak your feet. You should always dry your feet completely while applying lotion to the bottoms and tops of your feet. However, make sure you do not apply lotion between your toes, as this could lead to infection. 

Never Go Barefoot

Always wear shoes and socks or slippers, even while inside. This allows you to prevent any foot injuries from occurring. 

Wear Proper Shoes 

To find the best fit, try on new shoes at the end of the day when your feet tend to be largest from swelling. You should always break-in your new shoes slowly. This means wearing them for an hour or two a day at first until they’re completely comfortable. Lastly, always wear socks with your shoes.

Trim Your Toenails Straight Across

To maintain toenail health, always trim them straight across and file down any sharp edges.

Never Remove Corns or Calluses At Home

To avoid infection and complications, do not remove corns or calluses on your own. Additionally, make sure to never use OTC products to remove them, as they can burn your skin. Always see a doctor if you have corns or calluses on your feet.

Have Your Feet Checked at Every Doctor’s Visit

Make sure to visit your foot doctor every year (more often if you suffer from nerve damage) for a complete exam. This will include checking for feeling and blood flow in your feet.

Keep the Blood Flowing 

It is best to position your feet up when you’re sitting, and wiggle your toes for a few minutes several times throughout the day. This helps to keep blood flow levels normal, reducing your risk of nerve damage and circulation issues.

Choose Foot-Friendly Activities

You should engage in foot-friendly activities, like walking, riding a bike, or swimming. Also, make sure to check with your doctor about which activities are best for you and any you should avoid.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t wait for your next appointment. See your regular doctor or foot doctor (podiatrist) right away:

  • Pain in your legs or cramping in your buttocks, thighs, or calves during physical activity.
  • Tingling, burning, or pain in your feet.
  • Loss of sense of touch or losing your ability to feel heat or cold very well.
  • A change in the shape of your feet over time.
  • Loss of hair on your toes, feet, and lower legs.
  • Dry and cracked skin on your feet.
  • A change in the color and the temperature of your feet.
  • Thickened, yellow toenails.
  • Fungus infections like athlete’s foot between your toes.
  • A blister, sore, ulcer, infected corn, or ingrown toenail.

Most people with diabetes manage to prevent serious foot complications. Regular care at home and going to all of your doctor’s appointments are the best methods of preventing foot problems.

Diabetic Foot Care Products at Kelmedix

If you or someone you love suffers from diabetes, it is important to continuously take care of the health of your feet. At Kelmedix, we provide only the most reliable and effective health care supplies. If you are looking for diabetic foot care products, such as foot cleansing sponges, visit our online store today. 

References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31197153/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21857723/