Living with diabetes requires diligent attention to various aspects of your health. An area that demands special consideration is foot care. It may surprise you to learn that the feet can be significantly affected by diabetes, even causing daily discomfort and potential complications.
Fortunately, understanding how diabetes impacts the feet and implementing basic foot care for diabetics can be an effective proactive measure to safeguard your feet and overall well-being. In this blog, we will discuss the effects of diabetes on the feet and outline the basic foot care tips for diabetics to follow.
How diabetes affects your feet
Diabetes is a chronic condition characterised by high blood sugar levels, which can negatively impact the body’s intricate circulatory and nervous systems. This can result in complications that profoundly affect the feet, making them particularly vulnerable.
Two common culprits that contribute to foot-related concerns in diabetic individuals are:
- Neuropathy — This is a condition in which nerve damage leads to loss of sensation.
- Reduced blood circulation — This also leads to loss of sensation in the feet and hampers the body’s natural ability to heal wounds.
The combination of neuropathy and impaired blood flow can result in discomforts and potential complications — in fact, diabetic individuals have an increased risk of developing foot ulcers and infections.
This is because numbness, tingling sensations and loss of feeling can make it challenging to detect injuries, making minor problems more severe.
Learn the basics — foot care tips for diabetics
Along with managing your diet and lifestyle to prevent further complications, there are basic foot care tips for diabetics to follow day to day:
- Inspect your feet regularly — Check your feet every day for any signs of redness, swelling, blisters, cuts, sores or other abnormalities. If you have difficulty seeing the bottom of your feet, use a mirror or ask a family member or caregiver for assistance. Early detection of foot problems can help prevent them from worsening.
- Wash and dry your feet daily — Wash your feet with lukewarm water and mild soap daily. Avoid soaking your feet for long periods, as it can dry out the skin. After washing, pat your feet dry gently, especially between the toes. Moisturise your feet with a diabetic-friendly lotion, but avoid applying lotion between the toes to prevent excessive moisture.
- Trim your toenails carefully — Trim them straight across and avoid cutting them too short. If you have difficulty trimming your nails or have foot conditions, it’s best to have a podiatrist — a foot specialist — handle it.
- Wear comfortable and properly fitting footwear — Choose shoes that provide proper support, cushioning and protection for your feet. Opt for shoes with a wide toe box to avoid crowding and pressure on your toes. Avoid wearing shoes without socks, and wear clean, dry socks that wick away moisture. Inspect your shoes regularly for any foreign objects, rough areas or signs of wear and tear.
- Stimulate blood flow — Poor blood circulation caused by diabetes puts you at greater risk of infection. You may experience cramps and cuts that are slow to heal. Stimulate blood flow by stretching, walking and wearing circulation socks when you have to remain inactive for long periods, like on a plane.
- Avoid walking barefoot — Always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet, even indoors. Walking barefoot increases the risk of injuries, cuts and infections.
- Schedule regular foot exams — Regularly visit a healthcare provider, such as a podiatrist or a diabetes care team, for comprehensive foot examinations. They can assess the condition of your feet, identify any early signs of complications and provide appropriate guidance.
Podiatrists for diabetics
Aside from learning basic foot care tips for diabetics, seeking professional treatment will ensure you maintain a high quality of life. It’s especially important for those with genetically linked issues such as ingrown toenails and other common foot conditions.
We highly recommend that pre-diabetic and diabetic individuals consult with a podiatrist for the following services:
- Personalised preventive foot care plans — Based on an individual’s specific needs, podiatrists develop personalised foot care plans to minimise the risk of foot complications. These plans may include recommendations for daily foot care routines, footwear modifications, exercise programs and strategies to maintain optimal foot health.
- Custom orthotics and footwear — Podiatrists can prescribe and create custom-made orthotics (inserts) or footwear that accommodate foot deformities, reduce pressure points and promote proper foot alignment. These devices provide support, enhance comfort and help prevent ulcers or other foot injuries.
Trust Podiatry First for all your diabetic foot care concerns
Prioritise your foot health and take the first step towards optimal care with diabetic foot care at Podiatry First — from routine foot examinations, specialised wound care and comprehensive diabetic foot education focused on your individual needs, we’ve got you covered.
You can expect our dedicated team of podiatrists to administer the treatments you need with the utmost attentiveness. Don’t allow diabetes to compromise your foot health. Book an online appointment with us today.Leave a reply