Take good care of your FEET
People with diabetes have to take very special care of their feet because nerve damage and reduced blood flow can cause less feeling than normal and so many foot problems may not be noticed right away. With your own daily care and common sense you can identify many of these small problems before they become serious infections that may be very difficult to heal if left untreated. All serious problems should be treated by a podiatrist or chiropodist. These are doctors who specialize in the care and health of the feet. Shoes are breeding grounds for infections because bacteria is attracted to dark, warm and moist environments.
How to protect your feet
● Wash your feet every day, always dry your feet well and moisturize except between the toes. Avoid temperature extremes and always test the water temperature with your hand.
● Make sure your shoes and socks fit well and are not too tight and your socks are seam free.
● Inspect your shoes regularly for foreign objects and rough or torn areas. Never go barefoot.
● If your feet are cold at bedtime wear warm socks and avoid using heating pads or hot water bottles. ● Cut your toenails only if they are still soft from bathing. A podiatrist, chiropodist or foot care nurse does this best.
● Check your feet daily with a good light and a mirror to see the bottoms of your feet. Look carefully for open sores, cuts, calluses, blisters and corns. Always check between your toes. If you notice any problems call your podiatrist.
● Avoid ‘bathroom surgery’ – let your podiatrist look after corns and calluses.
● Have your doctor, nurse practitioner or diabetes nurse check your feet at every visit. Always have the sensation in your feet checked each year.
● Do not use chemical agents to remove corns or calluses.
● Maintain a healthy weight – it’s easier on your feet.
● If you smoke your risk for foot problems is higher.
● Be active, it helps improve your circulation.