I have just been diagnosed with diabetes and I have heard that my feet are at risk. How do I need to care for my feet now that I have been diagnosed with diabetes?
People with diabetes can develop serious complications with their feet. The unfortunate fact is that every day, approximately 250 adults will lose a leg due to diabetes. If you or a loved one has diabetes, it is important to know that while diabetics are at an increased risk of serious foot problems, the risk of amputation can be greatly reduced by practicing healthy habits and performing daily foot checks.
Here are some tips to keep your feet healthy:
- Do not walk barefoot. Walking barefoot increases the risk of injury and infection
- Wear properly fitting shoes and socks. Properly fitted shoes will not rub anywhere or squeeze your toes. Socks help move perspiration away from the foot, as well as provide protection against blisters.
- Do not wear the same shoes or socks every day. Change your socks every day and alternate shoes for good foot health.
- Cleanse and check your feet every day. The best time to check your feet is after a bath or shower. Ensure you are in a well-lit room and use a magnifying glass if necessary.
Foot Check Basics:
Here are the basics of checking your feet:
- Always check both the tops and bottoms of your feet. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror to check that area.
- Check your toes (and between your toes), as well as your toenails.
Notify your medical care provider immediately if you have any:
- bumps, bruises or blisters
- cuts, sores, or cracked areas (open skin breaks can become infected)
- red or thinning skin
- pain, tingling/numbness, or lack of feeling in your feet
- ingrown toenails (red puffy skin along the nail) with or without tenderness
- new loss of hair on the foot or leg
Remember, sensible foot care is just part of a healthy regimen for diabetics. Managing your diabetes by keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol at healthy levels are important factors in your overall health and wellness as well as to prevent amputation.
For more information on diabetes foot health, please see this helpful article by the Center for Disease Control.
Danielle Hill, CPO