When you take care of any part of your body, it takes care of you. But when you live with diabetes, caring for yourself takes on even more importance. This applies, of course, to your diet, but also to your feet.
Having diabetes can mean you get less blood to your extremities, putting you at risk for a number of health problems. At worst, you run the risk of having a toe or a foot or even a leg amputated.
If you or someone you love has diabetes, here are a few foot care tips to keep in mind, whether you’ve just been diagnosed, or are simply trying to take better care of yourself.
- Keep your shoes and socks on
It’s a bad idea to go around barefoot when you have diabetes. You may incur a foot injury that – due to a lack of feeling – you won’t notice. Be sure to wear shoes and socks that fit properly, so they don’t cramp or slide around.
Have your doctor check your feet as part of your check-up, or make an appointment to see a podiatrist.
- Avoid the heat
If your feet get cold at home, wear warmer socks. Stay away from things like hot water bottles, heating pads, electric blankets, heaters or fireplaces.
And although wearing sandals – or going barefoot – seems natural in the summer, people with diabetes need to be sure to take care when the weather is hot. Even a few minutes of walking on a hot driveway or sidewalk without shoes can lead to a serious burn. On the beach, wear shoes and sunscreen on the tops of each foot. Sandals can cause swelling, dryness or cracking.
- Check your feet
Every day, inspect your feet for blisters, cuts, swelling, redness, sores or cracks. Use a mirror to get a better look at the soles.
You should also:
- Wash your feet with soap and water and then dry them, taking care to get between your toes.
- Avoid soaking your feet, which can break down your skin.
- Apply moisturizer, but avoid the skin between your toes. That area should stay dry to keep bacteria from developing.
- Consider wearing moisturizing socks to bed to keep your heels from cracking.
- Allow your doctor to trim your toenails to avoid ingrown nails or infections.
If you do have to trim your nails yourself, be sure to cut straight across, and then use an emery board or nail file to smooth the corners.
- Don’t smoke
Smoking really isn’t good for anyone, but it deserves special mention here. Smoking leads to problems with circulation, which means you’re not getting enough oxygen to your toes. This leads to neuropathy – or nerve damage – as well as infections. It can also keep wounds from healing properly.
- Treat problems right away
If you develop a blister or sore on your foot, take action right away. Any type of break on the skin has the potential to become infected if it isn’t noticed right away. Wash with soap and water, and apply a mild antibiotic ointment. Cover the blister/sore/cut with a bandage, and change the bandage at least once a day.
If you’re dealing with athlete’s foot, cover with an antifungal cream, or use the cream as a preventative measure to avoid a fungal infection.
If you develop any sort of wound, make an appointment to see your podiatrist as soon as possible, especially if sores aren’t healing. You should also let the doctor handle things like corns, calluses or planter warts rather than attempting to remove them on your own.
Another part of foot care is wearing the right sock.
Creative Care can help you if you’re in the market for a diabetic sock that will take care of your feet. We’ve been a leader in the diabetic sock field for more than 30 years. Our socks are designed to stay in place while not constricting your legs, and will last just as long as regular socks.
We make diabetic socks, travel support/compression socks, AFO liner socks, thermal bed socks, dressing neuropathic dressing covers and more. Keep your feet safe and happy is a long, hard journey. We’ll make sure you don’t have to walk it by yourself.