Diabetic Foot Care
According to the American Diabetes Association, about 15.7 million people (5.9% of the U.S. population) have diabetes. Neuropathy, nervous system damage, affects about 60-70% of people with diabetes and is a major complication that may cause diabetics to lose feeling in their feet. Diabetics must constantly monitor their feet or face severe consequences, including amputation.
Having diabetes, a wound as small as a blister could cause a lot of damage. Diabetes decreases blood flow, so injuries are slow to heal and when a wound is not healing, it's at risk for rapidly spreading infection. If you have diabetes, you should inspect your feet every day. Look for puncture wounds, bruises, pressure areas, redness, warmth, blisters, ulcers, scratches, cuts and nail problems. Get someone to help you, or use a mirror to inspect daily.Here's some basic advice for taking care of your feet:
- Always keep your feet warm.
- Don't get your feet wet in snow or rain.
- Don't put your feet on radiators or in front of the fireplace.
- Don't smoke or sit cross-legged. Both decreased blood supply to your feet.
- Don't soak your feet.
- Don't use antiseptic solutions, drugstore medications, heating pads or sharp instruments on your feet.
- Trim your toenails straight across. Avoid cutting the corners. Use a nail file or emery board. If you find an ingrown toenail, contact one of our offices.
- Use quality lotion to keep the skin of your feet soft and moist, but don't put any lotion between your toes.
- Wash your feet every day with mild soap and warm water.
- Wear loose socks to bed.
- Wear warm socks and shoes in winter.
- When drying your feet, pat each foot with a towel and be careful between your toes.
- Wear appropriate shoes:
- Buy shoes that are comfortable, without a "breaking in" period.
- Check how your shoe fits in width, length, back, bottom of heel, and sole.
- Avoid pointed-toe styles and high heels.
- Try to get shoes made with leather upper material and deep toe boxes.
- Wear new shoes for only two hours or less at a time.
- Don't wear the same pair of shoes every day.
- Inspect the inside of each shoe before putting it on.
- Don't lace your shoes too tightly or loosely.
- Choose socks and stockings carefully:
- Wear clean, dry socks every day.
- Avoid socks with holes or wrinkles.
- Thin cotton socks are more absorbent for summer wear.
- Square-toe socks will not squeeze your toes.
- Avoid stockings with elastic tops.