Approximately one fifth of diabetics are hospitalized for foot problems. There are many unfortunate factors that contribute to this. Diabetics endure an increased build up of calluses which can thicken and break, leading to ulcers. Poor circulation impairs the diabetic’s ability to fight infection and heal. To further complicate this, diabetics frequently experience nerve damage which can diminish sensation; they may not even realize an injury has occurred. Even simple injuries such as minor cuts and scratches can become infected when they go unnoticed. In severe situations, these infections may require antibiotics, hospitalization, and even amputation. For this reason, it is of critical importance that diabetics practice rigorous foot care. The following is a recommended list of care procedures that will help keep diabetic feet healthy.
- Never ignore foot irritation of any kind.
- Wash your feet every day with warm water but do not soak them. Test the water heat with your elbow to ensure you do not burn your feet.
- If the skin on your feet is dry, use lotion, but be careful not to put lotion between your toes as the area can breed bacteria.
- After washing your feet, file calluses and corns down gently with an emery board.
- Trim your toenails once a week (or as needed) after you shower. Shape the nail around the toes, careful not to cut too short. File the edges to prevent snagging and tearing.
- Check your feet every day for sores, blisters, cuts, redness, irritation, calluses or other issues. If you cannot reach your feet, use a mirror or have a trusted friend or family member check for you.
- Always wear shoes or slippers. Never walk around bare foot.
- Choosing the right diabetic footwear is critical as most diabetic foot ailments are the direct result of poor fitting shoes. You should always wear shoes that fit correctly. They should not be too tight or allow your foot to slide around. High heels and pointed toes should be avoided whenever possible. Breathable fabrics such as leather and canvas along with mesh vents help to prevent bacteria-friendly environments. Always use stocking or socks which help to stave off blisters. There are even special seamless socks for diabetics which further minimize the potential for irritation.
- Again – it’s worth repeating - never ignore foot irritation of any kind. Tell your doctor immediately if you notice any issues. Warning signs include swelling, pain in your legs, cracks (especially around the heel), corns or calluses that bleed, nail issues, open sores, changes in color of the skin, and changes in skin temperature.
- Even if injury free, visit your doctor for an annual foot check-up or as recommended by a medical professional.
Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition, or be taken as medical advice. For more information related to your unique situation, please speak with your personal physician.
About MMAR Medical Group: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a wholesale distributor of comfort footwear offering a wide selection of shoes for diabetics as well as custom made orthotics. Please visit www.mmarmedical.com for more information.