Diabetic Foot Care
Do you suffer from diabetes? Foot care is important for everyone but it essential for those who have diabetes.
Diabetes decreases blood circulation and affects your nervous system. People who have diabetes take longer to naturally heal from minor cuts and scrapes, which increases the risk of infection from minor injuries. Diabetics who develop sores or blisters on their feet may not feel the pain; therefore they won’t take the proper care or these open wounds. If these areas get infected they can lead to serious infections and even amputation.
Diabetics can prevent foot problems by maintaining routine foot care appointment and taking extra care of your feet on a daily basis.
Proper Foot Care for Diabetic Feet
Follow these steps every day to keep your feet healthy and prevent harmful foot infections. If you are unable to perform foot care on your own (due to poor eyesight, or limited mobility) then set a foot care schedule with a chiropodist (a foot care specialist). A Chiropodist will perform proper foot care on a regular basis and can identify problem areas and solutions before they become larger issues.
1. Wash Your Feet
- Use mild soap. The water should be lukewarm, never hot.
- Do not soak your feet. Soaking will dry out your skin and cause cracking in your skin.
- Use a soft cloth to clean your feet gently.
- Dry your feet with a soft towel. Dry in between the toes. Do not dry or warm your feet by putting them near a heat source.
2. Examine Your Feet
Look at your heels, soles, and tops of your feet. Identify sores, skin irritations, or potential problem areas. If you find cuts, blisters, crack, or sores clean them properly and make an appointment to see a foot care specialist to have it taken care of. Also look for discolouration spots on your skin that are blue, purple, or white.
Check for scaling or irritation. Examine the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror if necessary. You can also have a chiropodist routinely examine your feet.
3. Skin Care Routines
Use a water-soluble moisturizer on your feet (especially on callused or dry feet). Do not use cream between your toes or on open cuts or sores. Never use alcohol, scented lotions, or mineral oil on your feet.
4. Care for Corns and Calluses
- Gently and gradually rub down corns, calluses, and other hard skin with a dry washcloth, pumice stone, or nail file. This is most effective after a bath or shower.
- See your chiropodist if you have difficulty reaching your feet, if you have reduced sensation, or if you have poor circulation. Have your chiropodist remove corns or calluses if they are a problem. Do not remove corns yourself.
- Do not cut corns or calluses. Also avoid over-the-counter corn and callus removers or remedies. These contain acid and will burn the skin.
5. Cutting your Toenails
- Cut your toenails after a bath or shower.
- Cut toenails straight across using nail clippers, or file with a nail file. Do not use scissors.
- File down sharp toenail edges to prevent them from cutting into skin.
- If you have difficulty trimming your own nails, or if you have reduced sensation or poor circulation, schedule an appointment with your foot specialist or chiropodist.
6. Selecting Proper Footwear
Wearing of proper footwear is essential in the prevention and healing of foot problems. Diabetics and high risk patients should schedule a footwear education appointment with their chiropodist. You should also bring your footwear to your chiropodist appointment. Sometimes special insoles are made to go into your shoes to make you comfortable and prevent problems.
Foot Infections and Diabetes: What do I Do?
An infection may be present if you see any combination of these symptoms:
- open sores
- red streaks
People with diabetes may not feel any pain in this area due to a loss of sensation. The first thing you should do is call your chiropodist or physician. If it is after office hours, call your doctor’s emergency number.
For a minor infection, your chiropodist will clean the infection and may give you antibiotics to keep the infection from spreading and to help it heal. It is important to take your antibiotics for the entire length of the treatment, since it will not work if you skip doses. You will need to dress your wound at least once a day. Your chiropodist will want to see you for follow-up visits to be sure the infection is healing properly.
Prompt detection of an infection in its earliest stages will help to avoid a possible hospital stay.
It is important to seek treatment from a licensed foot specialist if you suffer from diabetes. A chiropodist will take proper care of your feet and advise you on the best footwear and treatment options.
Visit the Foot and Health Clinic and have our Registered Chiropodist assess your feet. We’re located at 728 Burloak Dr. Burlington, just outside of Oakville. Book an appointment online or call us at 905-632-1414.