Being a diabetic means you’ve to be extra careful – about everything. It all starts when you start feeling thirsty but your mouth still runs dry, you need to use the bathroom more often, you notice sudden weight loss, you keep feeling tired, your vision blurs, and the headaches become worse than ever. Before you assume it yourself, a medical examination is necessary to see if you have diabetes or not. If you have diabetes, it means that your body will run short on insulin and you’ll have to inject it inside to keep your blood sugar in control.
What Diabetes Does To Your Feet
The feet of the diabetic patients are highly prone to minor injuries with increased risks of foot complications, which invite several types of infections in the body. But why do feet of the diabetic become so vulnerable?
When the blood sugar level rises, it negatively impacts the nerves and damages them. As a consequence, the nerves lose their sensitivity and become numb to any sensation. This condition is called diabetic neuropathy.
The complications arising from this condition lead to severe and harmful effects on the feet and legs. It’s as severe as your feet bleeding continuously without you feeling anything. Cuts and sores as such become the gateway to infections. If these infections are left unattended and untreated, these can lead to gangrene, hence leading to leg or feet amputation.
Another side effect of neuropathy is skin dryness or foot deformities. Whenever there is excess dryness and cracks start appearing in your feet, the numbed nerves cannot signal the brain to trigger sweating. Apart from that, your feet shape may change and the blood vessels may start constricting, hence reducing blood flow.
Tips For Caring For Your Feet If You Have Diabetes
1. Inspect Your Feet Daily
When you can’t feel your feet, there is an improbable chance that you will feel the bleeding through cuts, sores, and cracks. For this reason, diabetic patients should inspect their feet daily to see if there is any significant change in the shape, color, and skin texture.
Use a mirror to notice the changes, but if you can’t spot them, ask a family member or a friend to help you out.
2. Avoid Testing Hot Water With Your Feet
As we discussed above that neuropathy can make your feet less sensitive, it also disables your sense to feel the coldness and warmth of the water. By testing the hot water, you can unknowingly scathe your own skin.
For that reason, make sure you don’t step your foot right inside the hot water bath and check the temperature beforehand. To check the temperature, use your elbow to see if the water is mildly warm and suitable for your skin.
3. Wear Diabetes-Friendly Footwear
One of the worst problems a diabetic patient can face is finding the right shoes for their feet. Diabetes can make your feet change their shape and you might not find your previously-used shoes comfortable to wear. If you’re going to shop for diabetes-friendly shoes, pay extra detail to your comfort than going for fashion wear.
For a diabetic, the comfortable shoes will have more depth in the toe section, will provide good coverage overall, and must be seamless so to avoid friction between the shoe and the foot. Along with these specialized shoes, make sure you also use medicated socks that are padded and made from comfortable material to retain moisture.
4. Don’t Walk Bare Feet
Since the feet become so vulnerable, you must never walk barefoot, not even in your own house. Always wear slippers or padded socks around so that you may avoid stepping on anything that could scratch your skin and leave open wounds.
Having neuropathy won’t make you feel anything until the infection develops and starts affecting other areas of your feet. Just to make sure, wear shoes, slippers, and socks all the time.
5. Keep Your Feet Dry
Keeping your feet dry is an entirely different thing from having dry skin. Whenever you’re washing your feet, make sure you dry them instantly – especially the insides of the toes.
The space between our toes is so tight that it can trap moisture for longer periods, and in the case of diabetes, can lead to an infection. You can avoid this condition by towel-drying your feet completely and removing wet socks immediately.
6. Consult A Podiatrist Regularly
What seems like a benign bunion or callus, might be the initial warning for a malignant infection. If you notice something like it, never try to treat yourself with over-the-counter medication.
You might not realize that the product you’re using might add to the problem and make it worse. Instead, go see a podiatrist who can help you using his professional advice and treat your condition the proper way.
Here are top 3 Podiatrist:
- Michael Subik
7. Try Low-Pressure Exercises
Exercise is good for diabetes, but you must ask your diabetes specialist about the exercises best suited for your health. Each diabetic patient has a different requirement, but high-impact exercises, such as fitness and aerobics, aren’t the best option to avail.
Look for programs that are easy on your feet. Go for walking, light jogging, and swimming to remove the stress burden from your feet. Plus, whenever you’re exercising, make sure you have the right type of shoes on.
8. Cease Smoking
Smoking is injurious to health, but it’s lethal for diabetics. It not only impacts their lungs but also runs the potential metabolic risks from head to toe.
Regarding all the risk factors, smoking constricts the blood vessels and deprive the feet of receiving fresh blood, which helps in fighting infections. Smoking cessation can help alleviate this issue and relieve your feet.
9. Control Blood Sugar
The only thing that helps reduce nerve damage is the regulation of blood sugar. If the blood sugar levels spike, then neuropathy increases. If these levels are controlled, the chances of neuropathy lessen.
And if the neuropathy becomes less, the nerves in your feet will become more responsive and will contribute positively to your feet’s health. In case you didn’t know, high blood sugar can worsen an already present infection.
10. Trim Your Toenails Carefully
Trim your toenails whenever necessary. Remember to always cut straight across without going too deep. Make sure you file the edges.
Another important thing to remember is to never cut your toenails too short as they can lead to ingrown toenails. If you’re concerned about your toenails, you may consult professional services for your foot care.
11. Keep Your Feet Moisturized
If you have dry, scaly skin, make sure you keep your feet moisturized most of the time. Just remember not to add the lotion or cream to the in-between spaces of the toes. The moisture lock can lead to a risk of fungal infection.
Diabetic patients require extensive care. If you’re struggling with diabetes, you have to pay attention to all of your body parts. Controlling the root causes of the problems can help you prevent risks of fungal and bacterial infections than receiving limb amputation.
Take care of your diabetes, take care of your feet!
Author Bio: Stella Holt is a savvy blogger who has dedicated her exceptional skills solely to writing, reading, and discovering everything new. Since her passion keeps peaking and touching new heights, Stella has narrowed her writing and blogging career towards writing for the healthcare industry, where she writes about patient care, related illnesses, medical ethics, the current healthcare system and so on. Currently, she pens projects for Heritage Grove Family Dental. When not blogging and writing, Stella can be found gardening in her backyard or playing with her cats, Rosy and Chika.