When getting the diagnosis, many patients’ first thoughts are of blood tests and insulin shots. In reality, there is much more that goes into this life-changing condition than just that. Diabetes affects many parts of the body and the feet are often a problematic area for those with the condition. Follow these easy steps along with regular New York podiatrist visits to ensure your feet stay in prime condition.
It’s important for a diabetic to examine their feet each day; they need to look at all parts of the foot like the sole, sides, top, heel and toes. If there are any problems seen during this check, then a doctor needs to be consulted immediately. Problems can be anything from sores, blisters, cuts, to redness or swelling. If a person cannot check the entire foot ask a friend or relative for help.
Toenails should be remembered when conducting any foot check. Try to keep the toenails filed and shaped straight across to prevent snagging or cuts that could become infected. If they need to be cut, it is best to do it when the toenails are soft; after a bath is a recommended time by many medical professionals who have studied the disease. The toenails themselves should be short and cuticles should not be cut. Avoid doing anything that will cause an ingrown toenail such as wearing shoes that are too small or ill-fitting. If in doubt about any of these details, see a podiatrist.
Feet must be washed every day to prevent the spread of germs. Use only warm water with a mild soap. Make sure the water is the correct temperature before putting the feet in. Because diabetics cannot accurately gauge the water temperature with their feet try using the fingers or even an elbow. It is not recommended to soak the feet at any time, instead, go over and wash immediately. Completely dry by patting, do not rub or scrub as this could otherwise inflame delicate skin. When the feet are dry, apply lotion to the entire foot except between the toes.
Shoes must be worn at all times as it is not a good idea to go barefoot. Make sure shoes have hard soles; stay away from open toe, open back, high heels, pointed toes, and sandals. The shoes have to fit properly. Always wear shoes with socks, these socks need to be cotton or cotton blend. Socks can be purchased that are especially for diabetics. For shoes, they should be made of materials like leather or canvas. Look in all shoes for anything that might be hiding like a rock or bad spot that could cause problems.
Circulation is important for diabetics, so people with the disease should look for ways to improve it in their own lives. Try elevating the feet when sitting as it can be one of the worst times for continued circulation. The toes can be moved ever so often to help reach extremities.
Exercise is good for anyone’s health, this is also true for diabetics. There are many exercises that will work for someone with diabetes and not cause additional foot problems, a few of these activities are walking and biking. If unsure what exercise is best, the doctor will be happy to help find the ones that work for each individual.