5 Ways You’re Making Your Diabetic Feet Worse
For those with diabetes, your foot health should be of utmost importance as serious issues can arise suddenly. Here are five ways that you may be worsening the condition of your feet and how you can take better care of them.
1. You aren’t monitoring your foot health daily.
Checking your feet for even a couple minutes every day can go a long way in promoting your overall foot health, especially if you are experiencing any limited sensation due to nerve damage. Daily care – including trimming your toenails, cleansing your feet, and taking note of any abnormalities – are vital in the prevention of serious injury. A hand mirror placed on the floor is an easy way to see the sole of the foot.
In addition to daily self-monitoring, make sure to visit your personal physician at least once a year for a professional evaluation. If you notice any issues or injuries, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
2. You are washing your feet in hot water.
It is important to wash your feet daily. However, many sufferers of diabetic foot issues make the mistake of submerging their feet for extended periods of time in water that is not the correct temperature.
While a hot bath may sound nice, soaking your feet in hot water can inhibit the healing progression of existing sores. Instead, wash your feet gently in warm water and then make sure to dry them thoroughly. Avoid prolonged soaks in Epsom salts and similar substances as well.
3. You are walking barefoot.
Walking barefoot can be extremely dangerous for those with diabetic feet. Without protection, your feet are at a heightened risk of being bruised or injured which, if left unnoticed, can develop into more serious wounds.
Instead, wear comfortable slippers, thick socks, or well-fitted shoes at all times to protect and cushion the feet. Ideally, a structural slipper would be used in the home and diabetic shoes outside of the home. Custom total-contact inserts are necessary, too, and have been shown to reduce the incidence of amputations.
4. You are constricting blood flow to your feet.
Poor circulation in your feet can make it more difficult for your body to fight infection or injury. This can be caused by smoking, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and not giving your feet adequate time to rest. You should be screened for peripheral arterial disease occasionally; discuss this with your primary care or endocrinologist.
Stimulation and exercise is an effective way to improve the blood circulation of your feet. Choose low impact exercises, like yoga, and make sure to wear comfortable and safe shoes as you exercise.
5. You are wearing ill-fitting shoes and tight socks.
Shoes and socks that fit properly are well worth the investment for the health of your feet. Anything that fits too snugly or causes irritation can lead to the development of sores or blisters. This can be especially detrimental as these issues can go unnoticed if you have any loss of sensation due to neuropathy.
Make sure that your shoes are free of any rough materials that could hurt or aggravate your feet, and break them in slowly over an extended period of time. Diabetic shoes are usually designed so that no seams touch the foot on the inside. It is important to actually have your foot measured; many people do not know their true shoe size.
Our team at Warner Orthopedics & Wellness specializes in diabetic foot treatment. From treating neuropathy to ulcers, we know the best practices to promote better foot health for diabetic feet. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists!