For people with diabetes, impaired circulation and nerve damage from high blood sugar levels can lead to severe foot problems. For example, reduced blood flow keeps sores and ingrown toenails from healing, creating the potential for an infection. That’s why it’s critical for people with diabetes to practice excellent foot care. By working a few essential practices into your routine, you’ll protect yourself from foot complications.
7 Tips for Diabetic Foot Care
1. Keep Blood Sugar Levels in Check
The most important aspect of maintaining foot health for diabetics is keeping their blood glucose at a safe level every day. Monitor blood sugar regularly and follow your doctor’s advice for the appropriate range. Exercise, watch your diet, and take medications as prescribed to maintain a healthy glucose reading.
2. Inspect Your Feet Each Day
It’s easy for small sores and scrapes to go unnoticed, so check your feet before putting on your shoes each morning and after taking them off at night. Even the slightest abrasion or blister could develop into a serious infection if it’s not treated immediately.
3. Keep Feet Clean & Skin Hydrated
Infections thrive on dirty, moist skin, so keep your feet clean and dry. Wash them each day but avoid extremely hot water and harsh soap. If your skin is dry or cracked, use a moisturizing lotion to help it heal, but never put it between your toes.
4. Trim Toenails
Long or uneven toenails can result in an ingrown nail quickly. The surrounding skin can become infected easily, so keep nails short and straight to prevent this problem.
5. Wear Appropriate Shoes & Socks
People with diabetes should take extra time while shoe shopping to find footwear that doesn’t pinch or rub against their skin. Ill-fitting shoes lead to blisters, so walk around in a new pair for a few minutes and inspect the insides for seams that might irritate your feet before you buy them. Additionally, look for padded socks without seams and avoid material that doesn’t wick away sweat.
6. Never Go Barefoot
If you’re walking around without shoes, you’re asking for a foot injury. Even pebbles can cause a scratch that might lead to an infection. Protect your feet at all times, even at the beach or while walking on grass, and wear socks around the house.
7. Visit a Foot Specialist
Regular appointments with a physician who specializes in podiatric services are essential to proper diabetic foot care. These experts will inspect your feet and look for small changes that could signal serious health issues. They also will identify and treat minor infections before they become severe.
If you have diabetes, protect your health by practicing these foot care tips at home and visit Foot & Ankle Specialists for regular checkups. Their three locations in southwestern Ohio provide state-of-the-art treatment for a range of ankle and foot disorders. To make an appointment, call (513) 769-4408 for their Blue Ash location, (513) 541-5709 for their Cincinnati office, or (513) 423-0672 for their Franklin clinic. Visit them online to learn about their podiatric services, including bunion surgery. Check their Facebook page for more advice from their experts.