If you have diabetes, it’s important to take care of your feet. Uncontrolled blood sugar can damage the nerves in your feet and legs, making it difficult for you to feel sensations like pain, heat, or cold.
Research shows that adopting habits to reduce the complications of diabetes can decrease your risk of foot and leg wounds and amputation. These daily habits include foot care, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and managing blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
Our doctors at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists want to help you provide the best care to your feet. Below are a few easy ways we suggest for preventing diabetic foot ulcers.
Keep Your Feet Clean and Dry
It’s important to wash your feet every day. Be sure the water isn’t too hot, to avoid accidental burns. Check the water temperature with your hands, since your feet might not be as sensitive to temperatures as they were before you developed diabetes.
After washing your feet, dry them completely. Make sure the skin between and under your toes is dried well, because moisture can cause athlete’s foot or other fungal infections, which can lead to foot ulcers.
Trim Your Toenails
Keep your toenails trimmed. Cut the nail straight across and file the edges with a nail file or emery board. Take special care not to cut your skin. If you see any open areas on your feet that won’t heal, contact our office to have your feet checked by one of our doctors.
Maintain Soft and Smooth Skin
Washing your feet every day is necessary, but it can make them dry. Use a standard lotion and apply a thin layer to the tops and bottoms of your feet daily. Don’t put lotion between your toes as it can create more moisture and cause infections.
Pay Attention to Socks and Shoes
When you have diabetes, shoe choice is crucial. Make sure your new shoes fit correctly. If shoes are too tight or too loose, they can rub your feet and cause sores.
Check inside your shoes before you put them on to make sure there are no rough spots and that the lining is smooth. Wear padded socks made of acrylic or acrylic blends to protect your feet and keep moisture away from your delicate skin.
One small bump or crease inside your shoe might start the beginning of a diabetic foot ulcer, so taking a few minutes each morning to make sure your socks aren’t bunched up in any spots could prevent ulcers or even amputation.
Protect Your Feet
Never walk barefoot, even at home. Bumping or stubbing your toes could create wounds. If you’re outside or at the beach, wear shoes on sand or hot pavement. Never use hot water bottles, electric blankets, or heating pads on your feet.
Maintain Good Circulation
If you sit for long periods of time, elevate your feet and don’t cross your legs. Exercise your feet and ankles two or three times a day. Easy exercises include wiggling your toes and moving your ankles up and down for five minutes each time. If you smoke, talk to your primary care provider about starting a program to help you stop smoking.
Visit a Foot Specialist
Once a year, you need to see a foot specialist. In between visits, if you notice any new or concerning changes to your feet, make an appointment quickly. Our doctors want to see you as soon as possible to create a plan to heal the wound before other complications begin.
If you’re ready for an annual foot check-up or have an area of concern on your feet, schedule an appointment online or give us a call at one of our offices in Grapevine or Keller, Texas. We care about the health of your feet.