Are you living with diabetes? If so, you probably already know how important it is to eat healthy, take your medication, and keep your regular medical appointments. Did you also know you could be at risk of developing serious foot problems?
This is because the blood sugar that circulates in your body can damage blood vessels and nerves. You could lose feeling in your feet and not even know you’re injured if you step on something. You could also develop a complication called diabetic neuropathy, which can make your feet feel tingly, painful, or numb.
If you have diabetes, make an appointment with Dr. Sean Rosenblum at Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic. He’s a trusted foot expert who’ll make sure your feet are healthy. Between check-ups, there are things you can do at home to keep your feet in tip-top shape. Here are five helpful tips.
1. Wear socks and shoes all the time
Protect your feet by wearing socks and shoes all the time, even indoors. Otherwise, you could stub your toe, step on broken glass, or injure your foot without noticing or feeling it.
Lightly padded, seamless socks reduce the amount of friction between your foot and shoe. Too much friction could cause the soles of your feet to thicken. With too many callouses, it may be harder to feel when you have an injury.
If you go to the gym, wear closed-toe swimming or bathing shoes. These types of shoes also protect you from an athlete’s foot infection. If it’s warm out, wear socks or shoes made of breathable material to keep the air flowing and to prevent moisture from pooling inside.
2. Inspect your feet daily
Check your feet every day. Make sure you don’t have any tiny pebbles, dirt, or other debris between your toes. If it’s hard to see, use a mirror or ask someone to help you. Check for:
If you find any damage or areas of concern, clean your feet gently but thoroughly. Once they’re dry, cover the area with a bandage.
Contact our office if it doesn't get better in a few days. This is important because you don’t want to get an infection that could lead to amputation down the road. Wounds take longer to heal in diabetics because of poor blood circulation, so we need to keep an eye on it.
3. Keep your feet clean
Wash your feet daily with warm, but not hot, water. After cleaning your feet, pat them dry with a soft towel. Dry the area between your toes, too. Make sure all the moisture is gone by applying some cornstarch or unscented foot powder if needed.
4. Get an at-home pedicure
It may be hard to take care of your feet at home, so ask a family member, close friend, or nurse’s aide (if you have one) for help.
Keep your skin soft, free from calluses and corns, and trim your toenails regularly. If you have calluses or corns, try gently smoothing them with a pumice stone, rubbing with a light touch in one direction only. Avoid over-the-counter corn-removal products and please don’t try to shave off corns or calluses because you could cut yourself.
Use a toenail clipper with a straight edge. Cut your nails straight across, then smooth out rough edges with an emery board.
Moisturize the dry skin on the soles and tops of your feet, but be careful not to get any between your toes. You can use a small amount of petroleum jelly, lotion, or cream.
5. Increase blood flow to your feet
As someone living with diabetes, you already know you should be exercising and eating healthy to help control your blood sugar levels. Exercise is important for another reason, too. It helps keep the blood flowing to your legs, which means they’ll stay healthy longer.
Try yoga, tai chi, walking, or another gentle activity you enjoy every day. Between exercises, stimulate blood flow by wiggling your toes. You can also improve blood flow by elevating your feet when sitting.
If you have a diabetic foot, getting regular check-ups at Foot and Ankle Care of Passaic in Lodi, New Jersey, helps keep you pain-free and safe. Request an appointment online or call 973-218-5720 today.