In America 9.3% of the population is diagnosed with diabetes, and another 27% who go undiagnosed. That’s more than 30% of people who are at risk for serious issues including foot problems. Often the case, people with diabetes start to lose feeling in their toes and feet. This can lead to blisters and wounds on the feet going unnoticed, uncared for, and can start to develop ulcers. Other diabetics experience pain, change of shape in their toes, and sores that don’t heal (due to lack of blood flow). Even if you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s always important to be attentive and to take care of yourself and your feet. Here are a few things you should practice for all around better foot health.
Check your feet every day! Be sure you give your feet a little TLC every evening, check up on them. Look for any blisters, sores, bumps, discoloration in the toenails; basically anything out of the norm. If you can’t bend very easily, use a mirror to help you examine them.
Wash your feet every day! Using warm, not hot, water wash your feet. Don’t try to soak your feet, this often causes dryness. Make sure you wash and dry in between your toes. You can use cornstarch or talcum powder in between your toes to protect against infection.
Remove calluses and corns. This should be done whenever you notice a callus or corn. Gently remove them by using a pumice stone in only one direction to prevent against tearing skin. Remember if you are diabetic to ALWAYS consult with your foot doctor about the best way to care for you callus or corn.
Trim your nails regularly. It’s important to always cut straight across, to prevent the nail from growing in the skin. You should go see a foot doctor if you can’t see or reach your feet, if your toenails are thick or discolored, and if you are prone to ingrown toenails.
Protect your feet from extremes. Extremes go both ways, hot and cold. It is important for people with diabetes to protect their feet for the weather. To cold can cause frostbite, and for the diabetic that can’t feel, can become worse and you could lose a toe or two. Wear lined boots and shoes in the winter, and socks at night if your feet are cold. In the summer hot pavements can scorch the feet with the person not even aware. So always wear some sort of shoes or sandals and use sunscreen on your feet to prevent sunburn. Stay away from using heating pads and ice packs on your feet.
Always wear socks! For diabetics this is very important. Never walk barefoot, wear socks and shoes at all times, indoors and out. Always check the insides of the shoes before putting them on, to avoid injury caused by something small inside the shoe. Get a shoe that fits correctly. Here at The Right Shoe we carry Dr. Comfort, a company that manufactures shoes that meet the standards for diabetic shoe. These shoes have extra depth, width, and no seams inside to poke or prick at you.
Keep the blood moving. Our feet are so far from our heart circulation to them can often be an issue. Often the case with diabetes, poor circulation is present in the individual. While sitting, put your feet up to help blood flow easier to them. Don’t cross your legs for long periods of times and wiggle your toes often to get the blood moving. DO NOT SMOKE. Smoking only makes matters worse, especially for a diabetic. And be sure your socks aren’t too tight, cutting off the blood flow. Ask your doctor about compression socks which can aid circulation and help control swelling.
Take care of yourself! Keeping your diabetes in check and under control is one of the most important things you can do. Build a relationship with your doctors and consult them with any issues or questions. Be more active, exercise, and eat a balanced diet.