The Importance Of Foot Care For Diabetes Patients

Many of our loved ones have diabetes. The disease is so prevalent that almost everyone knows someone who is managing the condition.

There are a number of steps people with diabetes can take to keep their illness in control: taking medication, staying away from foods that contain excess sugar, and making key lifestyle changes like exercise and smoking cessation are examples. However, one area of care that is often overlooked is foot care. If you or a loved one has diabetes, it’s critical the feet are not overlooked.

Why? The main reason is Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), which many people with diabetes are at risk for. Fatty deposits accumulate in the narrow vessels that extend out from your core and into the legs and feet, hindering blood flow and increasing risk for stroke. With poor circulation to the feet, people with PAD lose feeling in the feet, which can result in unnoticed infections or in worse cases, amputation.

In America alone, 200 people lose their feet due to diabetic complications every day. Many of these amputations began with a small wound.

 
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Helpful Tips to Keep Your Feet Healthy

Managing foot health can be complicated, but here are some simple and helpful tips from the American Diabetes Association to ensure that you or your loved one’s feet stay safe:  

  • Establish a routine. Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help.

  • Clean your feet. Wash and dry your feet every day. Take some extra time to dry between the toes.

  • Keep feet smooth and soft. Take a small amount of skin lotion and rub a thin layer over the tops and bottoms of the feet. Don’t use lotion between the toes!

  • Trim your toenails if you can reach. Trim your toenails straight across and file the edges with an emery board or nail file. If you can’t, have a podiatrist trim them for you.

  • Never go barefoot. Walking without shoes is dangerous for people who are at risk for foot wounds, so wear shoes and socks at all times (yes, even at the beach). Make sure to check inside your shoes before wearing them — little pebbles can wreak havoc!

  • Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don't put your feet into hot water. Test the water temperature before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.

  • It’s never too late to start. If you haven’t been checking your feet regularly, today is the perfect day to start.

  • See something, say something. If you notice a scrape or a developing foot ulcer, call or visit your doctor as soon as you can.

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