|Though they’ve been taking us where we need to go for years, many of us take our trusty feet for granted. Unfortunately, many people with diabetes face unique challenges when it comes to keeping their feet healthy and safe. But you can take simple steps to protect your feet from the everyday dangers that lurk unseen, and sometimes even unfelt. If you have diabetes, here are tips to help you care for your feet. People with diabetes are at high risk for developing neuropathy, a condition that causes nerve damage throughout the body, particularly the feet. The American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org) reports that while neuropathy can be painful, it also frequently leads to a loss of feeling that reduces your body’s ability to sense hot, cold, and even pain.
Are Your Shoes Good for Your Feet?
Blood Sugar Control, Medication, Physician Visits
The good news is that you can take steps to prevent the problem from getting out of hand. Begin by keeping your diabetes under control through good management of your blood sugar, taking medication or insulin as directed, and visiting your physician regularly.
Foot Protection Guidelines
For added foot protection, use this guide from the American Academy of Family Practitioners (www.familydoctor.org) to stay one step ahead.
· Wash your feet every day with lukewarm (not hot) water and mild soap.
· Dry your feet well, especially between the toes. Use a soft towel and pat gently; don’t rub.
· Keep your feet dry by dusting them with non-medicated powder before putting on shoes, socks, or stockings.
· Keep the skin of your feet smooth by applying a cream or lanolin lotion, especially on the heels. If the skin is cracked, talk to your doctor about how to treat it.
· Check your feet every day. You may need a mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet.
· Call your doctor at the very first sign of redness, swelling, pain that doesn’t go away, or numbness or tingling in any part of your foot.
· Don’t treat calluses, corns, or bunions without talking to your doctor first.
· Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. It might help to soak your toenails in warm water to soften them before you cut them.
· Don’t let your feet get too hot or cold.
· Don’t go barefoot.
Your shoes are supposed to protect your feet, but could they be doing more harm than good? Because of the increased foot problems that people with diabetes experience, it’s important to choose your shoes wisely. Plan your shoe-shopping excursion for late afternoon or early evening. Because your feet are more likely to be a little swollen, you’re less likely to select a size that’s too small.
Choose a shoe style that’s comfortable from the start. Don’t count on “breaking them in.”
If you’ve had trouble in the past with shoes that don’t fit, custom-molded shoes may be the right option for you. Talk with your doctor about specially made shoes and inserts.
Did You Know…
· Never wear shoes without socks or stockings, and when possible, choose socks and stockings with no seams.
· People with diabetes are susceptible to developing non-healing wounds on their feet and legs. If you have a wound that won’t heal, talk to your physician for a referral to a wound specialist.
· To learn more, log on to these Web sites: the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org and the National Diabetes Education Program at www.ndep.nih.gov.
Sources: www.diabetes.org, www.familydoctor.org
This article is provided to you by Abbeville Area Medical Center in partnership with MyHealthPublisher.com. These articles in no way seek to diagnose or treat illness or to serve as a substitute for professional medical care. Please speak with your physician if you have a health concern.