Diabetes causes many changes in your body that place you at risk for serious foot problems. Symptoms of diabetes, such as poor blood circulation and nerve damage, often show up first in your feet since they are the furthest from your heart. Fortunately, if you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes you can avoid foot problems by using this guide for proper foot care.
Stay On Top of Your Diabetes Treatment
The most important thing you can do to take care of your feet is to keep your blood glucose at the appropriate levels. Work with your health team to develop a treatment plan that works and always seek their assistance if something changes. Controlling your diabetes helps prevent it from damaging your feet.
Inspect Your Feet Every Day
With diabetes, a minor cut can quickly turn into a major infection that can then turn into an amputation if it is not treated right away. Use a mirror to look for changes such as discoloration, blisters or cracked skin. If you do notice anything out of the ordinary, schedule an exam to rule out any serious problems that may be developing.
Always Wear Shoes
You will also need to protect your feet from harm by wearing quality shoes. Ask your podiatrist for recommendations regarding shoes for people with diabetes that promote better circulation and prevent blisters. Then, remember to avoid going barefoot. Even wearing water shoes at the pool protects your feet from scrapes.
Keep Your Feet Dry
Having to wear shoes all the time can lead to a lot of moisture building up on your feet. For that reason, it is important to prevent fungal growth by keeping them dry. Make sure to dry your feet completely before putting on your shoes and focus especially on drying those spots between your toes. Changing your socks more often helps as well.
Stay Active With Appropriate Exercise
Exercise becomes very important as a method for controlling your blood sugar and promoting circulation through your legs and feet. Add workouts to your daily routine, but make sure that they are low impact so that you do not cause an injury to your foot that threatens your overall health.
Stop Smoking and Drinking Alcohol
Those little bad habits can add up to serious foot problems since the effects of nicotine and alcohol on your blood circulation also impact your feet. Alcohol can also raise blood sugar levels, and uncontrolled diabetes can lead to nerve damage in your feet that impacts your mobility and comfort.
Be Aware of Temperature
Before diabetes, you might not have given a second thought to dipping your toe into a hot bathtub. Unfortunately, nerve damage that may have occurred now places you at risk for serious burns. Always test heated water in pools and tubs with your elbow before climbing in, and never risk walking on hot pavement for even one second.
Prevent Overly Dry Skin
While you want to keep your feet dry, it is important to prevent the skin from drying out so much that it begins to peel or crack. Have your podiatrist show you how to apply a thin layer of lotion to your skin and work it in so that it does not contribute to fungal growth. As you do so, make sure to skip the spaces between your toes.
A new diabetes diagnosis can be overwhelming, but you have your health team on your side helping you learn how to manage your blood sugar and enjoy better health. At Baton Rouge Foot Care, we specialize in diabetic foot care, so contact us today with any concerns you have about taking care of your feet.