Foot care is important for everyone, but diabetics in particular need to take a special interest in looking after their feet. Diabetes can affect blood circulation and sensitivity in hands and feet, leading to a greater risk of injuries that are slow to heal. In severe cases, diabetes in combination with a minor foot wound can lead to a situation where the foot requires amputation. Here are a few top tips to help diabetics care for their feet to keep them healthy.
1. Pay Attention to Your Feet
As diabetes can reduce sensitivity in the feet, it is important to check them regularly for splinters, cracks, blisters, or minor wounds. Everyone who has diabetes should perform a daily foot check, using a mirror if necessary. If this is difficult, ask a family member or carer to help you.
2. Use Lotion
When the skin on the feet dries out, it can develop cracks. In people with diabetes, there is a risk that these cracks could deepen into fissures that go on to develop an infection. The best way to prevent dry skin on the feet is to apply lotion every day after bathing. Pay particular attention to the back of the heels and the inside of the big toe, which are the most common locations of dry skin.
3. Choose Footwear Carefully
Diabetics should avoid footwear that cramps the toes, rubs at the skin, or pushes the weight forward onto the ball of the foot. Instead of high heels and pointy toe boxes, choose wide, flat shoes that give the toes plenty of space to spread out. Shoes designed for people with bunions are often a good choice. You can also ask your podiatrist for footwear advice.
4. Protect Your Feet
When you have diabetes, it is very important to reduce the risk of getting cuts on your feet. Never go barefoot in public places, such as beaches or parks, where there might be broken glass. At home, walking barefoot or in socks can help to strengthen your foot muscles, but be very careful to keep the floors clean and free from hazards.
5. Visit a Podiatrist Regularly
Diabetic podiatry is a very important sub-specialism of podiatry that focuses on foot care for people with diabetes. Every diabetic person should have a podiatrist who specialises in diabetic foot care who they can call on for check-ups, as well as for treatment for stubborn foot wounds.
To learn more, reach out to a local podiatry clinic.