Article written by Diabetic Sock Club an American owned small business
focused on the health benefits of proper foot care for those living with diabetes.

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How to clean diabetic feet

Leg and foot issues are two frequent diabetic consequences that you might have if you're managing the disease. Your daily regimen should include taking proper care of your feet. Diabetes can damage your feet; even a little cut can have adverse effects. Therefore, diabetic foot care is crucial. Diabetes can harm your nerves and rob you of feeling in your feet.


Diabetes may also lessen blood flow to the feet, which makes it more difficult to heal wounds and fend off infections. Due to these issues, you might not notice a foreign object in your shoe. You can consequently get a sore or a blister. This might result in an infection or a wound that doesn't heal, which could put you in danger of needing an amputation.


What are some common foot problems with Diabetes?


Diabetes-related foot pain is beyond discomfort; it's a warning signal from your body. The following list of foot issues can affect anyone. However, these typical foot issues in diabetics can result in infection and severe complications, such as amputation.


  • Dry, cracked skin. Having Diabetes frequently results in severely dry skin that itches. Your skin can develop, deepen, and leak cracks. You run a higher chance of getting a significant illness because of these deep cracks. Additionally, you might observe that your skin heals slowly or is easily irritated.

  • Blisters. Blisters can form when your shoes rub the same spot on your foot. People with Diabetes can develop on their lower legs and feet and sometimes on their arms and hands. They are sometimes large, yet they are painless and have no redness around them.

  • Calluses. Areas of hardened, thicker skin cells are called calluses. The main problem with calluses, which are brought on by unequal weight distribution, is that they raise the possibility of infections and ulcers. Calluses can also result from ill-fitting footwear or a skin condition. Your doctor will determine whether or not your callus is causing issues because having some callus on your foot is normal. People with Diabetes develop calluses more quickly and frequently than non-diabetics. 

  • Athlete's foot. A diabetic person's sweat is sweeter because they have higher blood sugar levels—athletes' foot results from this increasing the growth of fungus. Athletes' foot is an infection brought on by a fungus that makes your skin itch, turn red, and crack.

  • Fungal infection of nails. A fungus infection can cause your nails to grow thick, brittle, opaque, yellowish-brown, or separate from the rest of your nails. Your nail may break under some circumstances. Shoes' warm, humid, and dark surroundings might promote fungus growth. Fungal infection might also result from nail damage. 

  • Corns. A corn is a thickening of hard skin between the toes or close to the toe's bony area. Shoes that press up against your toes or produce friction between your toes may result in corn.

  • Bunions. When your big toe bends toward your second toe, a bunion develops. The area where your big toe connects to your foot frequently develops redness and calluses. Additionally, this region could protrude and harden. On one or both feet, bunions can develop. Uncontrolled Diabetes increases the likelihood of bunions in a person. This is due to the feet's poor blood flow and issues with the nerves that control their muscles.

  • Diabetic ulcers. A foot ulcer is a deep sore or skin rupture. It is more likely to get an infection the longer you go without seeing one. A person might not become aware of the ulcers until they are severe due to poor circulation and nerve damage. You could lose your foot or limb due to infected ulcers that have spread. Minor scrapes, cuts that take a long time to heal, or rubbing in poorly fitting shoes can all result in foot ulcers. No matter how little, all ulcers require medical attention.

  • Hammertoes. A bent toe caused by a weak muscle is known as a hammertoe—your toe curls under your foot due to the weaker muscle shortening the tendons in your toe. When your toe muscles tense and creates an imbalance with other muscles in your feet and legs, diabetic hammertoes start to form.

  • Ingrown toenails. The nail's edges dig into your flesh, resulting in an ingrown toenail. They put pressure and discomfort around the margins of the nails. The edge of the nail may nick your skin, resulting in inflammation, infection, pain, edema, and discharge. An ingrown toenail can transform from a bothersome problem to a life-altering one if you have Diabetes. Your toenail may cause more severe issues because Diabetes reduces blood circulation.

  • Plantar warts. Plantar warts resemble calluses on the heel or the foot's ball. They could seem to have little black patches or pinholes in the middle. Warts can develop alone or in groups and are typically uncomfortable. A virus that affects the epidermis of the skin on the soles of the feet is the root cause of plantar warts. Let your doctor determine if you are unsure whether you have a callus or a plantar wart. There are numerous techniques to get rid of them.

How to clean diabetic feet 


Your feet endure a lot of strain and pressure throughout the day as they support the entire weight of your body. People frequently neglect their feet and need to maintain good hygiene. Given that diabetes patients' health depends on having healthy feet, it's critical to guard your feet against excessive discomfort and the aforementioned typical foot issues.


It is advised to spend at least 5 minutes each day cleaning and treating your feet and giving them a weekly treatment to improve and maintain the health of your feet. These precautions keep your feet strong and healthy, enhancing how well they can support your body.


Before foot washing:


  1. Prepare warm (not hot!) water to be used to you wash your feet.

  1. Check the water's temperature with your elbow because nerve damage might influence your hand's sensitivity. Avoid soaking your feet. 

During foot washing:


  1. Wash your feet thoroughly, paying specific attention to the space between your toes and the underside of them. They should be washed using natural soap with no fragrance or abrasives added, along with a soft washcloth or sponge.

After foot washing:


  1. Thoroughly dry your feet, particularly between your toes. To dry your feet, use the patting or blotting technique. Avoid rubbing your feet's skin. Dry it thoroughly since bacteria or a fungus can grow on moist foot skin, resulting in an infection.

  1. Use lanolin or another moisturizing skin treatment to keep your feet's skin soft and shield it from cracks and calluses. However, please avoid using the cream between your toes, as it can result in a fungal infection. You can learn the best type of lotion from your doctor.

  1. Use a nail clipper rather than scissors to cut your toenails. Avoid cutting down the sides or rounding off the edges of your toenails to help prevent ingrown toenails. After clipping, use a nail file to polish the toenails. Have your nails cut by your doctor or a foot specialist (podiatrist) if you have poor vision or are thick, split, or yellowed.

  1. Gently smooth corns and calluses with a pumice stone or emery board. After a bath or shower, perform this when your skin is soft. The emery board must only be moved in one direction.

  1. Consistently wear dry, clean socks. Wear socks or stockings that are comfortable for your feet. Consider the following things while choosing socks for Diabetes:

  • Soft Materials

People living with Diabetes must be gentle with their feet. Some diabetic socks are manufactured from delicately textured materials like bamboo and wool, which naturally fight bacteria and can lessen friction-related blistering.


  • No Seams

Your skin may chafe from wearing socks with seams. People with Diabetes should choose socks without seams at the toe to reduce the risk of blisters that can cause foot ulcers.


  • Elasticity

Nobody likes socks that slide down their legs, but people with Diabetes should avoid socks with top elastics because they might restrict blood flow to the feet by cutting off circulation. Choose flexible socks with a non-binding top instead because they are made to remain up without compressing the calves, which could reduce blood flow.


  • Moisture Wicking

Consider using socks made of moisture-wicking fabrics because nerve injury can affect the body's capacity to regulate foot moisture, and a humid environment can promote infection. The foot is better protected from getting blisters and other sores the dryer it is. Cotton cannot compare to acrylic fibers for moisture wicking.


  • Padding

Extra cushioning, which can be created from thicker fabric, gel, silicone inserts, or both, can help prevent foot injuries. Padded sock bottoms are also a warning of trouble if they are made in a light hue. The proof will appear on your sock even if you cannot feel any blood or drainage from a wound.


You can check out a perfect non-binding cotton diabetic crew socks here to aid you with your circulatory problems, Diabetes, edema, and neuropathy.


How to treat a diabetic foot wound


Depending on where the wound is on the foot, treat it as follows.


  • Use an over-the-counter ointment to treat a wound on the top of the foot.
  • Use iodine if the wound is between the toes.
  • Treat with antibiotic ointment if it is on the bottom of your foot, and you should avoid putting any weight on the wound.

Consult your doctor if, after a week, the wound hasn't made any noticeable progress. Likewise, if:


  • Redness can be seen surrounding the wound.
  • Pus is present in the wound.
  • The wound is severe.

Additional foot care tips


Here are some additional strategies to look after your feet and practice good foot cleanliness.


Check your feet daily for sores, cuts, and cracks.


Diabetes complications such as nerve damage make detecting sores or cracks in your feet difficult. Examine your skin for wounds, blisters, swelling, redness, or nail issues. If you can't see all of your feet clearly, place a mirror on the ground to look underneath your feet or ask a friend or family member for assistance. If you observe anything, contact your physician.


Don't go barefoot, whether you're inside or outside.


Most people understand the importance of wearing sturdy shoes outside to protect their feet, but even indoors, stumbling around barefoot puts your feet at risk for minor injuries like cuts and scrapes, penetration from glass shards, sewing needles, and thumbtacks. You might only detect these harmful consequences if you have neuropathy once they become infected. It's best to always wear shoes, even inside the house.


Do some stretches


To ease your hurting feet, you can also attempt these stretches. You can stretch your foot in various ways to work on different parts of it, such as your toes or heel. These exercises can help with flexibility and cramp prevention:


  • Ten times, curl your toes for a few seconds after flexing, pointing, and pointing them.
  • Sit down and extend your legs to warm up your feet. Step on your toes. Toes should be pointed away from your body and toward it. Both clockwise and counterclockwise circles should be made with your ankles.
  • While standing, continue stretching your feet by transferring your weight from your heels to your toes by alternately raising the front and back of each foot.

Maintain healthy blood sugar levels to prevent diabetic neuropathy


Neuropathy is caused by uncontrolled blood sugar. Thus the longer your blood sugar is under control, the healthier your feet will be. In addition to lowering your chance of amputation, regulating your weight and blood sugar also reduces your risk of blindness, kidney failure, and cardiovascular issues.


Quit smoking to improve circulation in your feet


Smoking has risks to every part of your body, including your feet. If you smoke, you're depriving your feet of the nutrient- and oxygen-rich blood that fights illness and keeps them healthy since cigarette smoke's toxins harm and constricts your blood vessels.


Visit a podiatrist regularly to treat foot problems.


Instead of going to the drugstore for an over-the-counter foot medication, think about putting a podiatrist on your diabetes healthcare team. Some solutions irritate the skin and can increase the risk of infection even while they cure the bunion, callus, or corn on your foot. After each visit, request that your podiatrist send the results of your checkup to your other doctors. Remember to show up for your upcoming podiatry appointment!


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