Caring For Your Feet When You Have Diabetes
Taking good care of your feet is something everyone should take more seriously, and this is especially true for individuals who are diabetic. Diabetes can be dangerous to your feet, as it may cause nerve damage that takes away feeling in your feet, making it difficult to feel the pain of a foot injury, and severe consequences may result. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder to heal an injury or resist infection. Because of these problems, you could not notice potential problems that would put the health of your foot at risk. Below are some diabetic foot health tips to keep in mind, which include trying out SteriShoe, the #1 podiatrist recommended UV shoe sanitizer that uses a UV light to sanitize your shoes, eliminating bacteria that cause foot infections and foot odor. Shop now.
How Does Diabetes Affect Foot Health?
When managing diabetes, you may also encounter problems with your feet and legs. Diabetes puts you at a greater risk for calluses, corns, bunions, blisters, and ulcers. High blood pressure means these minor injuries and altercations may become gateways to potentially disabling infections. High blood sugar levels damage nerves, and these damaged nerves could lead to diabetic neuropathy, a condition in which you lose feeling in your feet and hands.
In the case of diabetic neuropathy, you cannot feel your feet so you won’t be able to notice cuts, sores, or pain. The trouble is that if you are unable to notice these cuts, they may lead to infection, and untreated infections can lead to gangrene, which can require amputation.
Inspect Your Feet Every Day for Cracks, Wounds, and Sores
Nerve damage is a complication of diabetes that makes it hard to feel when you have sores or cracks in your feet. Patients with diabetes are encouraged to look for changes in color, sores, or dry, cracked skin. You can place a mirror on the floor to see under your feet or ask a friend or relative to help if you cannot reach your feet. If you notice cracks in your heel or balls of your feet, you can easily and safely use lotion. Avoid soaking your feet, as this will make skin even more susceptible to infection, either making your skin too dry or too soft.
If you notice anything like an infection or potential infection, then call your doctor to get it checked out.
Wash Feet Daily Using Lukewarm Water
Keeping your feet clean is important for anyone. You can prevent infections and other foot problems by washing them daily using lukewarm water. Be sure to test the temperature of the water with your hands instead of your toes — as nerve damage will make it hard to tell how hot the water is — so you know that you aren’t stepping into scalding hot water.
Never Treat Corns or Calluses Yourself
Any “bathroom surgery” that you feel confident in performing yourself may only make the problem worse. Even if the foot problem is minor and you feel confident in your abilities to handle it, solving the issue yourself could lead to further infection, making it essential that you visit a skilled professional who knows how to handle situations like yours. Plus, over the counter products could burn your skin.
Wear Shoes that Fit Well
For the best fit, try on new shoes at the end of the day when your feet tend to be the largest. Break in your new shoes slowly — wear them for an hour or two a day at first until they’re completely comfortable. And, of course, always wear socks with your shoes.
Avoid Going Barefoot, Whether You’re Inside or Outside
Wearing shoes with good coverage outside protects your feet from small cuts, scrapes, and penetration by splinters, glass shards, and more. Wearing slippers or some kind of foot protection around the house can also keep your feet safe from penetration from household objects, which you may not feel because of the nerve damage. You may not notice these dangerous damages until they become infected, making it a good idea to wear shoes at all times.
Keep Your Feet Dry
We’ve talked about this important tip before in several blogs; keeping your feet dry reduces your risk of infection, as moist skin, especially skin that has been wet or moist for long periods of time breaks down the skin and makes your feet more susceptible to infection. You can continue using lotion on your feet to keep the skin strong and prevent cracks, but avoid putting it between your toes.
See a Podiatrist Often
Even seemingly harmless calluses or differences in your foot may become problems if you ignore them. When building a diabetic healthcare team, be sure to include a podiatrist so you have someone you can go to if you do notice concerning changes in your foot health. See your regular doctor or foot doctor right away if you experience:
- Tingling, burning, or pain in your feet
- A change in the shape of your feet over time
- Dry, cracked skin on your feet
- A change in the color and temperature of your feet
- Thickened, yellow toenails
- Fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot, between your toes
- A blister, sore, ulcer, infected corn, or ingrown toenail
One of the best things you can do for your feet, whether you manage diabetes or not, is to keep your shoes dry and clean. You don’t have to bother with throwing them into the washer before subjecting yourself to listening to them tumble around in the dryer — all you need to do is try SteriShoe. SteriShoe is the #1 podiatrist-recommended UV shoe sanitizer that uses UV light to eliminate the harmful germs and bacteria that cause foot infections and foot odor. SteriShoe comes with a built-in fan so you can dry your shoes after a long day of work, ensuring that they are safe to wear again tomorrow. Take a look at our store and shop SteriShoe today.