If you're diabetic, consequences such as circulation problems, nerve damage, and infections often lead to serious foot problems. Nevertheless, there are precautions that you can take to maintain healthy feet. You can keep your feet in good shape by simply managing your diabetes with a healthy lifestyle. How can you maintain a healthy lifestyle? Here's how - monitor your blood sugar daily, there are many blood sugar monitoring devices in the market, you need to keep one at home; be particular about regular medical exams which should include foot checks at every visit along with checking your ABCs (A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol); keep a regular exercise routine; eat a balanced diet, have foods rich in omega- 3 and a lot of fruits and vegetables.
You can help avert serious foot problems with the help of a good foot care regimen. Here are a few simple foot care habits which you can adopt and try to do every day.
Inspect your feet and toes carefully - look over at the tops, sides, heels, soles, and the area in between the toes. If it's physically not possible for you to inspect your own feet then ask someone to help you out or do it with the help of a mirror. If you find any sores, cuts, redness, blisters or bruise which doesn't seem to heal on its own then let your doctor know.
Wash your feet daily in warm (or lukewarm) water with soap which is not hard on the skin. Hot water and harsh soaps only damage your skin furthermore. Don't emerge your feet directly into the water, check the water's temperature with your elbow or fingertips before putting your feet in because diabetes may make it difficult to sense the water temperature with your feet.
After soaking your feet or after you take a shower make sure that you pat your feet to dry them with a soft towel and make sure to dry them well. Infections tend to grow in moist areas, that's why you need to make sure that you dry the area between your toes well.
With this chronic health condition your skin can dry out due to lack of proper hydration. Water (or fluids) essentially provide your body with moisture. Now, if you're diabetic your body would be using fluids to generate urine and therefore there'd be less moisture for other things. You can get dehydrated, and your skin may feel dry and itchy because of this reason. Developing dry skin is a common side effect of diabetes, if the skin on your feet feels dry or rough, use lotion or oil to keep them moisturized. Do not use lotion between your toes.
Charting useful foot care habits will go a long way for keeping your feet in a perfect condition and healthy. Here are a few helpful tips that can help you do the same
It is advisable for people with diabetes to include routine toenail care along with their daily foot care habits. But other side effects of diabetes such as nerve problems, visual difficulty, or circulatory changes in the feet (or legs) can make this unsafe. If you are able to trim your toenails safely yourself, then great - doing so properly will help you to avoid getting a foot sore or an ulcer. Make a point to consult with your doctor or healthcare provider to be sure if it's safe for you to do routine toenail care. Don't hesitate to ask them to let you know the correct way to take care of your toenails. Here are a few tips that may help you in taking proper care for your toenails -
By now we know that neuropathy is another common consequence of diabetes, so if you have nerve damage or neuropathy that has affected your foot sensitivity, you may tend to overlook cuts or bumps. What can you do to prevent this? You can help protect your feet by wearing socks and shoes always.
Go for comfortable, well-fitting shoes that have plenty of room, especially in the toe box. No matter what the guy at the store says, never buy tight shoes with the conviction that they will stretch.
It's important to know and be alert about early warning signs of foot problems. The early signs and symptoms of foot problems include - burning, tingling, or painful feet; changes to the color or shape of your feet; loss of sensation to heat, cold, or touch; loss of hair on the toes, feet, and lower legs; onset of red spots, sores, blisters, ulcers, infected corns, or ingrown toenails; thickening and yellowing of the toenails. If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately. Any delay could result in serious health complications.
Following the above- mentioned tips can assist you in avoiding foot problems. As we have already discussed above, constant high blood sugar levels over time can end up in causing nerve damage and circulation problems. These troubles can cause and contribute to foot problems. If left unnoticed or untreated, ingrown toenails, sores, and other problems may lead to infection which can take a bad shape. Poor circulation makes recovering from an infection difficult. Therefore, it's best to avoid them if possible. Infections that do not heal in time can cause your skin and tissue to die out and turn black. This is called gangrene. Severe gangrene's treatment can involve surgery to amputate a toe, foot, or part of a leg.
Your doctor would examine your feet during each visit and do a thorough foot exam once a year. If you have experienced foot problems in the past as well then you should get yourself checked more often. Your health care provider will also provide you with more information on foot care and answer all your questions. Let them know about any foot pain, corns, sores, cuts, calluses, bruises, or infections.
If required, your doctor will recommend a podiatrist (people who specialize in diabetic foot care) or provide you with information about special shoes that will be of help. Always keep in mind that Diabetes- related foot problems can worsen quickly and may get difficult to treat if left alone for a long time, so it's important to seek proper medical attention.
Hi! I’m Gunjan, a self-proclaimed tea fanatic and intrigued with alternative ways to lead a healthy life. I firmly believe that we should take care of our bodies because it’s the only place we live in.