As a diabetic, you may be aware that you need to provide special care to your feet. Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk for complications affecting the feet. This may include corns and calluses, dry skin, foot ulcers and foot infections. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to prevent diabetic foot problems, and here are a few "Do’s and Don'ts" you need to follow.
1. DO Schedule an Exam with Your Podiatrist Before Problems Arise
If you have diabetes, you need to be extra careful about potential problems that may occur your feet. By seeing your foot specialist on a regular basis, you can avert a potential problem before it becomes serious. Your podiatrist will examine your feet and look for issues such as corns and calluses or foot ulcers that could lead to infection.
If you have developed callouses or ingrown toenails, the doctor will treat them so no complications arise. Although treating these issues at home with products sold at the pharmacy might seem convenient, diabetics are prone to infection from open wounds, so be sure to exercise caution. If you notice any abrasions or cuts on your feet due to a callous, see your podiatrist at once.
2. DON'T Ignore Dry, Cracked and Peeling Skin on Your Feet
Every diabetic needs to exam their feet on a daily or weekly basis. If you notice dry patches of skin that seem to be peeling, or if your feet have developed cracks, you need to heal the damage before problems arise. Cracks or breaks in the skin could become infected if they worsen.
Use a conditioning cream to soften and heal dry skin, and ask your doctor for advice if you believe you need a medicated lotion. To avoid dry and flaky skin that tends to peel, don't soak your feet in hot water or take hot baths. Also, avoid the use of harsh soaps on your feet, as some types of soap tends to dry the skin.
3. DO Keep Circulation Flowing to Your Feet
As a diabetic, it is vitally important to prevent poor circulation to your feet. You can prevent poor circulation by maintaining an active lifestyle and exercising regularly. Being immobile and sedentary for too long may cause circulatory issues.
Does your job involve standing or walking for extended periods? If so, you should try to sit down periodically and elevate your feet and legs every hour or two. Also, try not to bear your weight on one foot for an extended period of time.
Relaxation is also an important factor in improving blood flow to the feet. Kick back and enjoy a nice foot massage from time to time or simply soak your feet. You'll get the blood flowing and feel the tension ease away at the same time.
Why not invest the time and money in a professional foot massage at the spa? Aim for a foot massage every few months. Whenever you go for a professional massage, be sure to inform the masseur that you are a diabetic.
If you smoke, try to quit. Smoking may harden the arteries, leading to poor circulation. The same effect may occur from hypertension, so be sure your blood pressure is in check.
Lastly, wiggle your toes and flex your feet periodically throughout the day. This motion may help improve circulation and promote blood flow to your feet.
If you have concerns about your foot health relating to your diabetes, speak with your doctor. Your podiatrist may prescribe the use of orthotics or shoe inserts, trim overgrown toenails or recommend the use of medicated creams.