Diabetes can wreak havoc on the diabetic’s legs and feet. Diabetes reduces blood flow to the legs, which in turn can affect the nerves in the area and cause diabetic neuropathy – making even the smallest cut in the legs or feet dangerous for diabetics.
A person with diabetes might injure their feet without realizing it because they may not feel pain in that area. However, the injury can develop into a sore which can become so infected that the foot or leg must be amputated in order to save the person’s life.
Therefore, every diabetic should take care of their feet in order to stay as healthy as possible, including doing the following:
Check the Feet Daily
Checking your feet every day should be an important ritual that’s automatically on your mental schedule. Sit on the sofa and check one foot at a time, and check all around the toes and all around each foot.
If you need help, ask others to examine your feet to verify there are no cuts, blisters, or swelling. Call your doctor if you find anything, because any lack of blood flow will hurt your ability to fight infection – and a small cut could become a big sore, which could require the amputation of your foot or lower leg if not treated.
Avoid Hot Water
Bathe your feet in tepid or lukewarm water, never hot water. The nerves are not performing well if you have diabetes, and you could wind up burning or scalding the skin.
Be very gentle while washing your feet. Wash them with a very soft cloth or rag, and then blot them dry.
Moisturize the tops and bottoms of your feet to keep the skin supple, but never put moisturizer between your toes. This is because extra moisture could encourage fungus to grow, which is a serious problem for diabetics. Any cracking or peeling between the toes can be hard to treat and could lead to amputation.
Avoid Cutting the Skin on the Feet
Never perform “home surgery” by attempting to cut off a corn or blister, and do not use medicated pads. Save those issues for the podiatrist to handle, and make sure that the podiatrist knows you have diabetes.
Always Wear Footwear
Diabetic socks have extra cushioning to help prevent any kind of blister, and they are made from a special fabric that eliminates moisture and a damp environment (to help prevent fungal infections). Wear socks to bed if your feet get cold at night, and always wear clean, dry socks that you change daily.
Never go barefoot. When putting on your shoes, always shake them out first and make sure that there is no debris inside which could cause friction on the foot.
Trim the Toenails Carefully
Always trim the nails on your toes straight across. You cannot afford to get an ingrown nail with diabetes.
If your toenails are thickened or you are visually impaired, have your podiatrist trim your toenails. Never go to a nail salon, because they often have issues with sterility and cleanliness – and many infections have been started and spread by nail salons.
Podiatrists in San Antonio
If you have diabetes, check in with your podiatrist regularly so they can examine and treat your lower legs and feet – and stop any problem before it develops.
With the help of your doctors, the effects of diabetes can be controlled. If you are in the South Texas area, contact our friendly team at The Podiatry Group of South Texas by calling (210) 227-8700 or request an appointment online, and let us treat your feet!