Proper foot care is an essential part of diabetes management. Before
starting my research on type 2 diabetes seven years ago, I found it hard to
understand why so many people who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes had amputations.
Being a diabetic does not automatically mean you will lose a limb, but amputations start with infections, which may in turn start with ‘simple’ pressure spots or bruises.
Following are 7 foot care tips that can help you avoid serious complications:
- Wash your feet daily in warm, NOT HOT water. And don’t soak your feet (even if you’ve been standing all day) because it could cause your skin to become very dry and form cracks or sores.
- If you have corns or calluses, be very careful how you treat them. Never use a sharp instrument to remove them yourself. Also be careful of over-the-counter products that claim to remove corns and calluses easily. Instead, check with your doctor or podiatrist the best way to care for them.
- Check your feet daily – especially if you have low sensitivity or no feeling in your feet. Sores, cuts and grazes could go unnoticed and you could develop problems leading to amputations. Do not forget check the fold under each toe. Sometimes there can be a tiny crack in the crease which could easily be overlooked.
- Don’t go around barefoot, even indoors. It’s easy to tread on something or stub your toes and cut yourself. Protect your feet with socks/stockings and shoes/slippers.
- Take extra care to dry your feet completely, especially between your toes. These are natural moisture traps – leaving them damp or wet could create a number of problems. The elderly are most susceptible to this, especially when they live alone or two elderly people live together on their own. t may be hard for them to bend over to dry under the toes and between the toes.
- Poor circulation is a major factor in diabetes management. It’s important to do what you personally can to stimulate blood circulation to your feet. Exercise your legs and feet regularly. Even when sitting you can rotate your ankles; wiggle your toes or move your legs up and down. These all keep your blood circulation flowing and helps to minimize the risk of foot problems.
- Lastly, get your feet professionally checked for sensitivity and signsof any problems. Some experts recommend that you do this at least once per year. I’d encourage you to do this every three months, especiallyif your blood sugar levels are consistently high.
These foot care tips are not designed to scare you, but to make you aware of
the need to exercise caution and take constant care of your feet if you have type 2 diabetes.