, , ,
People with diabetes have a lot on their plate. Foot care is an important part of diabetes care. People with diabetes are at high risk for lower limb amputation, due to poor circulation and nerve damage.The number are staggering. About 86,000 amputation surgeries occur every year for people with diabetes. We have 10 tips to help you stay healthy and injury free.
As if being a person with diabetes isn't hard enough, you also have to make time for foot inspections. It might seem like extra work now, but anything you can due to avoid a painful and debilitating amputation the better. Here are 10 ways to help you keep your feet safe.
1. Inspect your feet daily if you have diabetes
You need to inspect your feet daily for cuts, scrapes, calluses, and blisters. These might seem like minor injuries, but they are great places for bacteria to grow. Nerve damage can cause these injuries to go unnoticed. You can try these peppermint feet wipes to help keep your feet free from germs and bacteria. If infection sets in you will need treatment ASAP.
2. Wear diabetes-friendly shoes if you need to
Sometimes diabetes friendly shoes are needed to keep feet safe. People with diabetes might find that their regular shoes are uncomfortable. People with diabetes often deal with foot pain and swelling. Comfortable shoes are a must.
3. Keep toenails trimmed to the right length
If you have diabetes you need to keep your toenails short, but not too short. Cutting too low could lead to ingrown toenails and eventually a painful infection. Toenails that are too long might tear off and cause a lot of damage. Ask your podiatrist what length is best and check the length every day. You should also invest in a high quality pedicure and manicure set. You want to make sure you instruments are sharp and reliable to avoid accidents.
4. Clean and sanitize all clippers, files, and tweezers
Sanitize your clippers, files, and tweezers before using on your toes and feet. These personal care items are breeding grounds for bacteria. Sanitize them before each use and make sure you are the only one who uses them. This sanitizing machine is inexpensive and it can cook off all the bacteria.
5. Keep your workouts low-impact
If you are at a higher risk of trips and falls, keep your workouts low-impact. Doing this can help reduce foot injuries. You need regular activity to help manage diabetes, but you don't need the added risk of injury. Take a long walk rather than a fast run.
6. Moisturize your feet to avoid cracks in the skin
Spend a little time every night moisturizing your feet. Dry skin can crack and that can open the door to infection. Gold Bond makes a foot cream specifically for people with diabetes. Avoid putting lotion between the toes to prevent fungal growth.
7. Reduce your A1c and overall blood sugar
Lower your A1C to help reduce the risk of nerve damage. Even if you presently have nerve damage, it can always get worse. You need to check your blood sugar often and correct highs accordingly. If you do not know what your A1c is, contact your doctor or try this at-home A1c kit.
8. If you smoke, QUIT!
Smoking reduces circulation in the feet and increases the risk of amputation. Ask your doctor for a list of resources to help you quit. You could try aromatherapy or a prescription from your doctor, but please try to quit. You are not alone. Smokefree.gov has some tips and advice that can help.
9. Try using orthotic inserts to protect your feet
Orthotic inserts can help keep your feet stable. This will help reduce painful sprains and correct balance issues. You will also notice less foot pain throughout the day and reduced swelling. The best orthotic inserts are the ones that your doctor can order specifically for your feet. If that is too expensive, try the over-the-counter variety.
10. Stay away from typical nail salons
You should not be going to nail salons unless they specialize in diabetes foot care. You can check with your Podiatrist if you need help with calluses, clipping, and filing. They might have a better solution than salons. They might also have a list of trusted salons in your area. If you do need to go to a salon, bring your own pedicure tools and let the nail tech know you have diabetes ahead of time.
Managing blood sugar feels like a full-time job but in the end, it is worth reducing the risk of complications and amputations. If you have questions or concerns about your feet, contact your doctor.
For more news and tips about diabetes, follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Please share these articles with people who can use them.