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Why is foot care so important for diabetics?

People suffering from infections, circulation issues, nerve damage, or diabetes could develop severe foot problems if they don’t proactively treat them. While it would be best to consult your physician for adequate medical solutions, it is in your best interest to follow essential precautions to ensure your feet remain healthy.

Individuals with untreated diabetic conditions are at risk of limb-threatening diseases. You must take extra care to prevent foot infection, as not doing so could lead to terrible results. In some cases, the only solution to stop the infection from spreading to your entire body is to remove your infected limb off surgically. 

Diabetes is an insidious disease that doesn’t seem harsh initially. It increases your blood sugar, damaging your nerves and other organs. If left untreated for extended periods, diabetes can cause peripheral neuropathy, which slows healing and compromises blood circulation. It is a significant reason why many diabetic patients develop an infection in their feet.

People with damaged nerves could lose feeling in their feet. Sometimes, these individuals do not realize that they have small cuts or blisters in their feet due to walking barefoot or wearing the wrong shoes. It slows down circulation and leads to small wounds. Unfortunately, these wounds do not heal quickly in diabetic patients and lead to severe infections if you don't take this problem seriously.   

It is a significant reason why people with diabetes should practice foot care every day. They must clean their feet thoroughly and check for wounds like cuts and blisters. Furthermore, diabetes patients should dry their feet after washing them to ensure they are free from infection.

Do you have diabetes and have sores and blisters on your feet? Waste no time and contact your nearest healthcare provider to get adequate treatment. As mentioned earlier, you can significantly increase your chances of becoming infected if you leave your feet untreated. It could lead to a condition called “gangrene.” In most cases, the only solution to prevent gangrene from spreading is amputating the infected limb.

Luckily, you can prevent this from happening by prioritizing foot care. Doctors suggest that more than eighty percent of amputations caused by diabetes wouldn't have occurred if the patients were proactive with their foot care routines.

Maintaining a health-oriented lifestyle is essential to manage diabetes and keeping your feet healthy. It would be best if you incorporated the following advice into your daily schedule:

  • Eat a balanced diet containing fresh vegetables and fruits.
  • Exercise regularly
  • Monitor your blood sugar every day
  • Go for medical exams regularly and include foot checks during every visit.
  • Keep your cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1c in check.

Everyday Footcare Tips

A well-planned regimen for foot care could prevent serious problems and help you live a pain and stress-free life. Here are some tried and tested habits you should consider adopting to your routine:

Assess Your Feet

Thoroughly check your toes and feet, inspecting the heels, soles, sides, tops, and most importantly, the part between your toes. Utilize a mirror or get someone to assist if you physically cannot inspect your feet. Call your doctor as soon as you notice any bruises, blisters, cuts, redness, or sores.

Cleanse Your Feet

Use a mild soap with warm water to wash your feet daily. Steer clear from using harsh soaps and hot water as they could make matters worse by damaging your skin. Use your elbow or fingers to check the temperature before dipping your feet in the water. Some people who have diabetes may find it hard to sense whether the water is hot or cold with their feet.

Don't Forget to Dry Them.

Use a dry towel, tissue paper, or wipe and pat it to your feet, ensuring there is no moisture. Most infections tend to spread and develop in areas with excessive moisture. All it takes are a couple of droplets to cause trouble, so it would be best to take as much time as possible to make sure your feet are dry. 

Moisturizing Your Feet is Essential

If your feet’s skin feels dry or rough, consider using some oil or lotion. However, do not apply these liquids in the spaces between the toes.

Develop Healthy Habits

Following some proven healthy habits for your foot will go way a long way to ensure your feet remain healthy. Let us discuss some handy tips:

  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed for long periods
  • Do not stand in one position for extended periods
  • While antiseptic solutions are great, using them without a doctor’s approval is not a good idea as they could burn your skin
  • Never apply an electric blanket, hot water bottles, or heating pads on your feet
  • Walking barefoot is not ideal for diabetes patients. Most individuals know the importance of avoiding sandy beaches or hot pavements, but merely walking barefoot could lead to injuries or sores and cause infections
  • Shield your feet from cold and heat
  • You must never try to remove foot lesions like warts, calluses, and corns by yourself. Steer clear from using liquid callus or corn removers, corn plasters, razor blades, or wart removers. It would be best to consult your podiatrist or doctor.

Toenail Care is a must

.Individuals with diabetes can carry out straightforward, toenail care routines. However, circulatory issues in the feet or legs, nerve problems, and visual difficulty can cause difficulties and make the process unsafe.

If you can safely shorten your toenails, close attention will help prevent you from getting foot sores or ulcers. It would be best to consult with your physician to see if you are following the routine safely. Request the professionals to teach you the right way so that you can do it at home.

Follow these tried and tested toenail care tips:

  • Enlist a foot doctor’s help to trim your toenails
  • Be extra careful to make sure you don't trim your nails too short.
  • Avoid cutting the nail's corners and smooth them with an emery board.
  • Do not cut your nails in a curve as it leads to ingrown toenails. Instead, cut them straight.
  • Wash your feet before trimming your nails. It will make them softer.

Choose the Right Footwear

If nerve damage or neuropathy are the main reasons behind your foot sensitivity problems, you may overlook the bumps or cuts. However, you must wear shoes and socks to ensure your feet remain protected at all times.

Shoes

  • Choose a pair of well-fitting, comfortable shoes with sufficient room, particularly in the toe area. Avoid buying tight shoes, thinking they will become loose after stretching
  • Plastic shoes are a big no-no as they do not have enough breathing room. Instead, choose a pair made from suede, canvas, or leather
  • Avoid wearing high-heels, open or pointed toe footwear, flip-flops, and sandals
  • Wear adjustable shoes with Velcro, buckles, or laces
  • Thoroughly inspect your shoes for bumps and tears. You must do this every day to ensure your feet doesn’t have to endure irritation or pressure
  • Diabetes patients suffering from nerve damage should consider resting their feet or changing their shoes after three to four hours. It will help change pressure points and alleviate pain
  • Consult your doctor if you experience recurring problems and ask him/her if you need special shoes
  • Wear a pair of thick socks if your feet get cold in bed
  • Wearing socks throughout the day will provide an extra layer of protection between your shoe and foot

Be Wary of Symptoms and Signs of Foot Problems

Diabetes patients must educate themselves about their condition to be aware of the early warning signs of various foot problems. Let us look at some common ones:

  • Yellowing and thickening of toenails
  • Loss of hair on lower legs, feet, and toes
  • Changes to the feet’s color
  • Change in the feet shape
  • Losing sensation to touch, cold, or heat
  • Painful, tingling, or burning feet

It would be in your best interest you call your doctor if you notice these sometimes. Delaying things could result in severe health complications. Following these tips can help prevent major foot problems. As discussed earlier, high blood sugar levels can lead to circulation problems and nerve damage. Untreated or unnoticed, ingrown toenails, sores, cuts, and bruises could lead to gangrene and other infections.

Inadequate circulation could massively slow down your recovery and cause your foot’s tissue and skin to turn black and die. Doctors may amputate a part of your leg, foot, or toe to prevent it from spreading.

Visit a Doctor

Visit a doctor to get your feet examined regularly. If you have an extensive foot problem history, it would be best to visit a healthcare provider more often. You must waste no time reporting any infections, bruises, cuts, sores, calluses, and corns. Your doctors may recommend a podiatrist specializing in diabetes-related foot care. They may also ask you to wear special shoes to alleviate the pain.

Remember, foot problems caused by diabetes can worsen in no time, and treating them is quite difficult. So, seek timely medical attention to avoid amputation and other risky procedures.

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