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What Diabetics Need To Know About Foot Care

Having diabetes can be a lot to manage, and even staying on your own two feet can be a struggle some days. There’s a lot to do when you have diabetes such as checking your blood sugar, finding the time to be active, doctors appointments, cooking food that is good for you, and taking medicines. Thinking about the health of your feet may be the last thing on your mind, but daily care for your feet is one of the easiest and best ways to prevent complications with your feet.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) about half of the people with diabetes will suffer from some type of nerve damage from having high blood sugar levels for a long time. High blood sugar does damage to your nerves, and can stop sending messages to different parts of your body. The key to preventing nerve damage is keeping your blood sugar as close to your goal levels as possible. By doing so, you will have a greater amount of energy and feel much better! Below will cover how to care for you feet if you are diabetic, and what the cause may be:

Peripheral Nerve Damage 

Have you ever felt tingling in your feet or what felt like “pins and needles”? You could also feel like you are wearing socks when you are in fact not, or your feet are extremely sensitive just to touch. These are symptoms to peripheral nerve damage. This can affect all parts of your body, especially your feet and this is where it generally starts.

Some other symptoms you may experience could be pain or greater sensitivity around night time, weakness or numbing, ulcers, infections, or bone and joint pain. Others may feel no pain if the nerve damage has gotten so bad, to the point where you may not be able to feel cold, heat, or pain anymore. Living without pain may sound nice, but it is not good because pain is the body’s way of telling it something is wrong.

Treating foot problems early may help lower your chance of developing a serious infection. Knowing how to check your feet properly yourself and learning how to care for them accordingly will be a benefit to how you feel.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Feet With Diabetes 

1. Check Your Feet Daily: 

Check your feet for small things such as cuts, minor redness, sores, blisters, calluses, swelling, or any other possible damage to your feet. If you are unable to see the bottom of your feet, you can ask a family member or friend to help check or use a mirror to see the bottom. Don’t forget to check in between the toes. By checking your feet every day, you can catch any issues early on in order to get them treated right away— helping reduce your risk of amputation. Also, protect your feet by trimming your toenails often and straight across to help prevent any ingrown toenails.

2. Never Walk Around Barefoot

To care for your feet with diabetes, it is important not to walk around barefoot. You should always wear shoes, slippers, or at least socks. Even inside you should have something on your feet protecting them to avoid any possible injury. Be sure to check that there is not anything sitting on the inside of the shoes such as a tiny rock that could cause trauma.

3. Wear Proper Fitting Shoes 

Wearing shoes that fit you well with diabetes is important to give your feet the support you need. Always wear socks with your shoes. It is important to avoid heels and pointed, tight, or open-toed shoes and wear comfortable, well-fitted shoes. Consider getting a pair of diabetic shoes, which there are many different types to give your feet the full keep-up they require. These shoes will allow your feet to breathe, while still providing the support necessary. Don’t underestimate what a good pair of fitted shoes can do for you.

4. Socks Made For Living With Diabetes

Living with diabetes, your feet really need extra care. One thing to consider looking into is socks designed for diabetics. They have additional cushioning with no elastic tops to prevent squeezing your ankles. These socks are made from fibers that help wick moisture off of the skin. Look into purchasing these socks for some further care for your feet.

5. Steps to Stay Healthy

Providing your whole body with care, will help care for your feet too. This is able to be done by sticking to your diabetes meal plan and limiting any alcohol intake, as that can cause your feet to be swollen and inflamed. Check your blood sugar frequently, making sure you are staying in those target ranges. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical exercise daily to not only help reduce weight, but to also help with other levels such as blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride. A great way to get that physical activity could be riding a stationary bike. Bikes can be easier on the feet as opposed to walking, but walking is a great form of physical activity as well.

6. Hot and Cold

Protecting your feet from extreme cold, and very hot temperatures is a critical thing to do when caring for diabetic feet. While some people may feel temperatures less due to possible nerve damage, it is vital to still stay aware of temperatures. It is important to note that you should not use heating pads or electric blankets over your feet. Wearing shoes if you go to the beach on the hot sand is important measure to take, as well as on hot pavement. When washing the feet each day, use lukewarm water as opposed to steaming hot water. Wash with mild and gentle soap.

7. Keep Blood Sugar Under Control 

High blood sugar damages the walls of the blood vessels over the course of time. As time passes, those vessels become stiff with plaques that are restricting blood flow. The vessels in your feet are the ones at the greatest risk. The veins in your feet must work extra hard to go against gravity in pumping deoxygenated blood back into your heart. Rest your feet up when you are sitting, but try to wiggle your toes often to keep the blood flowing.

Stay In Touch With Your Doctor 

Regular checkups are a big part of having diabetes. Being proactive and preventing problems before they start is a good way to get on top of things. Scheduling a full foot exam with your doctor at least once a year is a good thing to consider. If your feet become numb, have intense tingling, or any type of sores that are healing slowly, call your doctor right away.

The majority of people with diabetes can care for their feet right at home, while preventing any serious problems. Consider treating yourself to a spa treatment for your feet at Wake Spa. Check out all of the soaks and massages we have available. Be sure to book your spot today as spots in the sanctuary are limited.

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