If you have diabetes, maintaining good health is more challenging for you than it is for other people. You need to be careful about your weight, your diet, and several other things that can affect your insulin level. Diabetics also need to be very particular about the health of their feet.
Why is feet health important for diabetics?
Diabetes increases your risk of developing sores and infections in your feet. As circulation slows down because of diabetes, your blood moves more slowly. This makes it harder for the body to deliver nutrients to wounds. As a result, your injuries would heal slowly, or may not heal at all. Moreover, diabetes may also cause neuropathy (nerve damage) which can affect wound healing.
In short, diabetes increases your risk of developing sores in your feet and reduces your body’s natural ability to heal them. In the worst-case scenario, these wounds or sores may lead to amputation. That is why you must take good care of your feet. Here are 9 simple tips to help you do that.
Foot care tips for diabetics
- Check your feet daily. This is a must if you have low sensitivity or no feeling in your feet. You can use a mirror to examine your feet or take the help of your family member. This will help you notice any sores, cuts, or grazes before they get worse. Early treatment ensures a better chance of healing.
- Don’t walk barefoot even when you are at home. It increases your risk of a foot injury. You may tread on something, stub your toes, or cut the skin of your feet. Always keep your feet protected with socks/stockings and shoes/slippers.
- If you cannot bend when trimming your nails, take the help of your family member or professional like a diabetic nurse or podiatrist. Doing it on your own might cause injury.
- Don’t ignore corns or calluses. They might worsen into wounds. Consult your doctor or podiatrist for the best way to care for them.
- Keeping your feet clean is very important. Wash them every day in warm water. DO NOT use hot water.
- Don’t soak your feet for too long. It could dry your skin too much and may form sores or cracks.
- Keep your feet free of moisture. Take extra care to dry the skin between your toes. Leaving your feet damp might lead to infection and sores.
- You must exercise your legs and feet regularly. There are several exercises you can do. When sitting, you can rotate your ankles or wiggle your toes. You can also move your legs up and down. Such exercises help in ensuring healthy blood circulation in your feet and minimize the risk of foot problems.
- You must get your feet checked by a medical practitioner at least once a year for sensitivity issues and other problems. You can schedule this with your annual AC1 levels checkup (blood glucose levels over 3 months), or blood pressure and cholesterol checkup.
If you are a diabetic, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a healthy and happy life. But you need to be careful about your health. This includes the health of your feet. So, keep your feet clean, dry, and protected. And always consult your doctor if you notice even a slight injury or wound on your feet. Don’t be careless.