Being diagnosed with diabetes presents its own unique set of complications and imposes restrictions on your day-to-day life. From complete dietary transformations and finger pricking to a whole new regimen of medication, it’s easy to become overwhelmed.
One extremely important aspect of living with diabetes, that is too often overlooked, is proper foot care. Diabetes can cause poor blood flow and nerve damage, particularly in the legs and feet, causing numbness and inability to feel when something may be amiss.
Daily Foot Care Routine
An easy way to take care of your feet in the comfort of your own home is to create a simple routine to carry out every day. Many people find it most convenient to perform this routine either right before bed, and for good measure, going to bed with nice clean, moisturized feet can help you sleep better, too!
Simple Foot Check
Once a day, simply check your feet, looking for discoloration, swelling, bumps, bruises, scrapes or cuts, misshapen toenails, toenail fungus, or anything else out of the ordinary. You can also feel around to see if you notice anything with an unusual texture. If you need help, especially checking the bottom of your feet, don’t hesitate to use a mirror or ask a loved one for assistance.
Be sure to wash your feet daily in warm – not hot – soapy water. Don’t soak them, which will dry them out, but wash them completely between the toes and rinse thoroughly. Once finished, use a clean dry towel to pat them dry, and follow up with lotion. Don’t use lotion between your toes, as that can lead to infection, but make sure your feet are nicely moisturized. Finally, check to see if your nails need a trim – if so, trim your toenails straight across and not rounded.
Protect Your Feet
Try not to go barefoot, especially outside where your feet risk cuts, splinters, stings and other things that can cause damage. Check for pebbles or foreign objects in your shoes before you put them on, and wear shoes that fit well and provide adequate support.
Encourage Healthy Blood Flow
As much as you are able, walk, swim or participate in other low-impact activities. When sitting, elevate your feet and wiggle your toes often. If it helps to create a habit, remind yourself to wiggle your toes every time you put your feet up.
Include Annual Podiatry Visits
Remember to include foot checkups in your list of annual healthcare visits. People with diabetes are at especially high-risk for foot problems. If you notice anything unusual, including calluses, corns, or bunions, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist specializing in diabetic foot care to have them checked. Never try to remove them on your own – you can inadvertently burn or cut yourself, and the injury can lead to an infection.
If you are in need of an experienced, caring, reliable Chicago foot doctor, call Mitchell Foot & Ankle to schedule an appointment.