Foot Care Tips for Diabetics
Foot care should be an important part of everyone’s regular health care routines, and that importance is amplified for diabetics. Nerve damage and poor circulation in the lower limbs are common side effects of diabetes.
These conditions can leave your feet vulnerable because your ability to immediately notice that you’ve hurt your foot is hampered. It is vital that people living with diabetes take vigilant care of their feet in order to stave off ulcers, infection, and deformities.
A concentrated effort to care for your feet will go a long way to your overall health and peace of mind. The first step is to find a professional foot specialist to include in your health team, a registered chiropodist, podiatrist, medical doctor, or a nurse who specializes in foot care. Visit your foot specialist at least once a year for a check-up and feedback on your at-home care regime.
Include foot inspections as part of your daily personal care routine. Our feet have a difficult job; since we don’t tend to walk looking down, our feet are not only the first on the scene, but they also go in blind; stubbed toes can attest!
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Wash your feet with warm water and soap suitable for sensitive skin, and use a towel to dry them completely – especially between your toes. Look for blisters, cuts, discolouration, swelling, calluses, corns, warts and any other changes in your feet. Book an appointment with your foot specialist if you notice these signs of distress.
Use a mirror to view the parts of your foot you can’t see otherwise, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Be sure to look between your toes. When your nails need a trim, cut straight across and use a nail file to gently smooth edges. Apply a moisturizer suitable for sensitive skin on your soles and the sides of your foot to prevent the skin from drying out and cracking, but avoid applying the moisturizer between your toes where bacteria can flourish.
Although it’s tempting to remove calluses and corns yourself it’s best to receive this treatment from a foot specialist. And avoid salon pedicures. Diabetics’ increased risk and consequences of infection make the removal of dry and dead skin best conducted by a medical professional. Never use any medication or treatment on your feet that is not recommended by your health care team.
Take great care choosing your footwear. Make sure all footwear fits properly and discard them immediately if you see any signs of reddened skin or blisters. Talk to your foot care specialist to learn about stylish footwear designed for sensitive feet.
Wear those stylish-but-functional shoes, boots, or sandals at all times – even indoors – to protect your feet from bumps, sharp objects, and extreme temperatures. Sand can get very hot, you might not notice that rock in the grass, and table legs are everywhere; again, stubbed toes can attest!
At Wilson Health Services our Cambridge Chiropodist Patricia is experienced with foot care for diabetes patients. Book an appointment with her to talk about diabetes and your feet by calling (519) 624-8000.