There’s a lot to consider if you have diabetes: but daily foot care is one of the best ways to prevent complications. About half of all people with diabetes have nerve damage. You can have nerve damage in any part of your body, but nerves in your feet and legs are most often affected. Nerve damage can cause numbness, tingling, or pain, but some have no symptoms.
Nerve damage lowers your ability to feel pain, heat, or cold. Pain is the body’s way of telling you something’s wrong so you can take care of yourself. If you don’t feel pain in your feet, you may not notice a cut, blister, sore, or other problem. Small problems can become serious if they aren’t treated early.
Nerve damage, along with poor circulation, another diabetes complication, puts you at risk for developing a foot ulcer that could get infected and not heal well. If an infection persists, your toe, foot, or part of your leg may need to be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading and to save your life.
Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy in Diabetics:
- Check your feet every day for cuts, redness, sores, blisters, calluses, or any change to the skin or nails. Use a mirror if you can’t see the bottom of your feet or ask a family member to help.
- Wash your feet every day in warm water. Don’t soak your feet. Dry your feet completely and apply lotion to the top and bottom—but not between your toes, which could lead to infection.
- Never go barefoot Always wear shoes and socks or slippers, even inside, to avoid injury. Check that there aren’t any pebbles or other objects inside your shoes and that the lining is smooth.
- Wear shoes that fit well. Break in your new shoes slowly—wear them for an hour or two a day at first until they’re completely comfortable. Always wear socks with your shoes.
- Trim your toenails straight across and gently smooth any sharp edges with a nail file. Have your foot doctor trim your toenails if you can’t reach your feet.
- Don’t remove corns or calluses yourself, and especially don’t use over-the-counter products to remove them—they could burn your skin.
- Keep the blood flowing Put your feet up when you’re sitting, and wiggle your toes for a few minutes several times throughout the day.
These are just a few of the daily habits that you should be keeping in order to keep your foot care under control. It is important to help our diabetic loved ones with maintaining this routine if they need reminders or assistance. Our caregivers at Happier at Home are more than happy to assist with these needs, whether that is trimming nails, washing the feet or adjusting footwear. Even just being there to remind our clients of what they should be doing is a critical component.