5 Essential Foot Care Procedures for Diabetics
There are a myriad of health issues that can arise for diabetics who don’t take proper care of their feet. In some serious cases, this seemingly harmless negligence can lead to foot ulcers and possibly even result in the total amputation of the limb in question. In order to help avoid this type of situation as well as many of the other foot-related problems that diabetic people have to deal with, we’ve compiled this quick and easy list of foot care procedures that can help you keep your feet healthy and whole.
- Inspect your feet daily. It’s important to keep a close eye on the condition of your feet; take note of any physical changes at all. Pay special attention to any cuts, scrapes, lesions, bumps, blisters, moles, dark spots, or abrasions that you don’t remember seeing before. Also make sure to carefully inspect around your toenails as well as in your toenail beds, as sometimes health problems can come about as a result of ingrown toenails. If you do notice any serious changes in the condition of your feet, contact your personal physician as soon as possible; they can arrange for a medical exam and determine if the changes are a cause for concern.
- Wash your feet properly. Cleanliness and proper hygiene is of critical importance for maintaining healthy feet. Therefore, you should wash your feet daily, taking special care to clean between your toes. Additionally, don’t use water that is too cold or too hot; dramatic water temperatures can have a negative impact on the health of your feet, so make sure to wash with lukewarm water. Also, try to be gentle when washing your feet in order to lower the risk of injuring your feet during the washing process; also, use a soft washcloth or special foot sponge when washing your feet, since washing your feet with a harsh or rough scrubber can result in cuts, scrapes, and other abrasions on the skin of your feet (and these types of injuries can become easily infected due to the slower rate of healing that most diabetic people experience; furthermore, infections have a way of escalating into more serious health problems like diabetic ulcers when not treated in time, so it’s best to simply exercise care when washing your feet from the start in order to avoid this entire issue). Additionally, be gentle but thorough when drying your feet, since lingering moisture can lead to fungi and other hygiene problems.
- Wear the right shoes and check them for abnormalities. Wearing shoes that fit comfortably is very important for maintaining healthy feet; shoes that are too tight or too loose can lead to blisters, which in turn can become infected and result in more severe health problems down the road. Improperly fitting shoes also lead to foot pain and discomfort. Additionally, make sure to feel inside your shoes before putting them on to make sure that there are no small pebbles or debris inside of them. This is important, because diabetic people do not always have full sensation in their extremities and as such might not immediately notice a sharp rock in their shoe until after it has already caused damage to their foot.
- Don’t smoke or quite smoking if you currently do. Smoking has been proven to impact the flow of blood throughout the body, and can have an especially negative effect on how effectively blood can flow to your feet to provide much-needed oxygen and nutrients.
- Moisturize your feet. It’s important to prevent dry and cracking skin, so moisturize the tops and bottoms of your feet if you begin to experience dry or flaking skin. Exercise restraint when it comes to your toes, however; too much moisture in between your toes can result in developing fungal infections, so perhaps try to avoid moisturizing these areas unless it’s absolutely necessary in order to avoid cracking skin.