What Diabetics Need to Know About Foot Care

What Diabetics Need to Know About Foot Care

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body's ability to process sugar in the blood, which can lead to nerve damage and poor blood supply to legs and feet. By taking proper care of your feet and being aware of problem signs, you can prevent most of the serious foot problems that often occur with diabetes.

Changes You Should Look For

If you have diabetes, you'll notice some changes that happen to your feet. Some normal changes that you can expect include

  • Dry skin. Nerve damage can prevent sweating and lead to dry skin.
  • Slower healing. Even small cuts and scrapes take much longer to heal.
  • Numbness or loss of sensation. You might cut yourself or get a blister without noticing, since nerve damage limits your ability to feel your feet.?
  • Changes in the shape of your feet. Nerve damage can affect the way you walk, and this will change the shape of your feet. Some areas may develop harder skin and calluses because you're putting pressure on a different part of your foot.

Your Foot Care Routine

Having a daily routine of washing and checking your feet is one of the best ways to ensure that small foot problems don't become major health issues.

  • Use mild soaps and warm -- not hot-- water.
  • When drying your feet, pat the skin dry and focus on the area between your toes.
  • Use moisturizer to prevent dry skin on your feet, but avoid putting cream between your toes, as this can lead to fungal infections.
  • If you're cutting your own toenails, do it after washing your feet so that your nails are soft and easy to cut.
  • Examine your feet daily, checking both the tops and bottoms.
  • Look for dry or cracked skin, cuts or blisters.
  • If you have a blister, cover it with a bandage to give it time to heal.
  • Check for tender areas or places that are red or warmer than the rest of the foot.

When to See Your Doctor

Even minor injuries can become serious foot problems if you have diabetes. If you notice any type of problem when checking your feet, contact your doctor immediately. Small cuts should be monitored, and a doctor's appointment made if the cut starts to look inflamed. Your doctor should also examine your feet every time you come in for a routine checkup or visit.

Maintaining good foot health should become an important part of your daily routine if you are diabetic, as small problems can quickly get worse. No matter how small an issue can be, rather visit your doctor and get it looked than neglecting the problem.

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/caring-feet?page=1

http://www.emedicinehealth.com/diabetic_foot_care/article_em.htm

http://www.scpod.org/easysiteweb/getresource.axd?assetid=3512&type=0&servicetype=1&filename=/Diabetes_and_your_feet_A5_24pp.pdf