Diabetic Feet

Having diabetes means you’re at much greater risk of developing foot problems. This is because raised blood sugar, can damage the sensation in your feet.

Diabetic Feet

Diabetic Feet Tips for Diabetic Foot Care

Proper foot care can prevent these common foot problems or treat them before they cause serious complications.

Here are some tips for good foot care: Take care of yourself and your diabetes.

Follow your doctor's advice regarding nutrition, exercise, and medication. Keep your blood sugar level within the range recommended by your doctor.

  • Wash your feet in warm water every day, using a mild soap. Test the temperature of the water with your elbow because nerve damage can affect sensation in your hands, too.
  • Do not soak your feet.
  • Dry your feet well, especially between your toes.
  • Check your feet every day for sores, blisters, redness, calluses, or any other problems. If you have poor blood flow, it is especially important to check your feet daily.
  • If the skin on your feet is dry, keep it moist by applying lotion after you wash and dry your feet.
  • Do not put lotion between your toes. Your doctor can tell you which type of lotion is best.
  • Gently smooth corns and calluses with an emery board or pumice stone. Do this after your bath or shower, when your skin is soft. Move the emery board in only one direction.
  • Check your toenails once a week. Trim your toenails with a nail clipper straight across. Do not round off the corners of toenails or cut down on the sides of the nails. After clipping, smooth the toenails with a nail file.
  • Always wear closed-toed shoes or slippers. Do not wear sandals and do not walk barefoot, even around the house.
  • Always wear socks or stockings. Wear socks or stockings that fit your feet well and have soft elastic.
  • Wear shoes that fit well. Buy shoes made of canvas or leather and break them in slowly. Extra wide shoes are also available in specialty stores that will allow for more room for the foot if you have a foot deformity.
  • Always check the inside of shoes to make sure that no objects are left inside.
  • Protect your feet from heat and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Wear socks at night if your feet get cold.
  • Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting, wiggle your toes and move your ankles several times a day, and don't cross your legs for long periods.
  • If you smoke, stop. Smoking can make problems with blood flow worse.
  • If you have a foot problem that gets worse or won't heal, contact your doctor.
  • Make sure your diabetes doctor checks your feet during each checkup. Get a thorough foot exam once a year. See your chipopodist (a foot doctor) every 2 to 3 months for checkups, even if you don't have any foot problems.

    Complications of Diabetic Foot Problems

  • Skin and bone infections. A small cut or wound can lead to infections. Nerve and blood vessel damage, along immune system problems, make them more likely. Most infections happen in wounds previously treated with antibiotics. Infections can be treated with antibiotics. Severe cases may require treatment in a hospital.
  • Abscess. Sometimes infections eat into bones or tissue and create a pocket of pus called an abscess. The common treatment is to drain the abscess. It may require removal of some bone or tissue, but newer methods, like oxygen therapy, are less invasive.
  • Gangrene. Diabetes affects the blood vessels that supply your fingers and toes. When blood flow is cut off, tissue can die. Treatment is usually oxygen therapy or surgery to remove the affected area.
  • Deformities. Nerve damage can weaken the muscles in your feet and lead to problems like hammertoes, claw feet, prominent metatarsal heads (ends of the bones below your toes), and pes cavus, or a high arch that won’t flatten when you put weight on it.
  • Charcot foot. Diabetes can weaken the bones in your foot so much that they break. Nerve damage can lessen sensation and prevent you from realizing it. You keep walking on broken bones and your foot will change shape. It might look like your arch has collapsed into a rocker shape.
  • Amputation. Problems with blood flow and nerves make it more likely for people with diabetes to get a foot injury and not realize it until infection sets in. When an infection can’t be healed, creates an abscess, or if low blood flow leads to gangrene, amputation is often the best treatment.

  • Diabetes UK

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