Diabetic foot problems are caused by poor blood circulation and a loss of feeling in the lower extremities. Due to high blood sugar levels, arteries in diabetics become hard and narrow, restricting blood supply and causing poor blood flow. Tissues and cells are deprived of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in ischemia. Nerve damage causes a loss of feeling or sensation, a condition known as neuropathy.
Additionally, the high levels of sugar in the blood create an ideal environment for bacteria. If a severe infection occurs, the skin dies and bones become infected. In these circumstances, the foot must be amputated. For healthy foot maintenance, follow these important diabetic foot care tips and instructions:
Wash Feet Gently in Lukewarm Water
Always check the water temperature before submerging your foot. Make sure the water is not too hot; due to a lack of feeling, it is easy to burn your feet. Add mild soap to the water. Pat your feet dry gently rather than rubbing.
Inspect Feet and Toes Daily for Injuries (Blisters, Corns, Lacerations, and Scratches)
Carefully examine your feet everyday. Make sure to inspect the top, sides, heels, soles, and between the toes. If reaching your feet is difficult, ask someone to help you inspect them or use a mirror. Develop a schedule, such as inspecting your feet after bathing or before bed.
Immediately contact a qualified specialist if you notice any injury. Do not use home remedies or over-the-counter medicine without consulting your doctor.
Wear Diabetic Socks
Diabetic socks promote blood circulation in your feet. Don’t use socks with tight elastic bands as they obstruct circulation. Likewise, bulky or thick socks irritate the skin and should be avoided. Wear socks to bed to keep your feet dry and warm at night.
Wear Diabetic Sandals, Shoes, or Boots
Likewise, custom-made footwear fits the size and shape of your feet and helps prevent irritation, poor circulation, and injury. Always wear closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from any sharp objects. Use good-quality walking or running shoes for hiking, running, and other physical activities.
Pay Attention to Your Toenails
Cut your toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. Cut them short and file the edges carefully. This can be done after bathing when your toe nails are very soft.
Sanitize Pedicure Tools
Always sanitize pedicure instruments after each use. Bring your own pedicure tools to the salon to avoid careless or poor sanitation methods. Avoid cutting cuticles too deep as fungi, viruses, and bacteria can easily enter your body through cuts and weak skin.
Don’t Walk Barefoot
Beaches and other outdoor areas can be dangerous. Sharp stones or shells can easily slice your feet. Always wear hard-soled sandals or slippers. The sole should be thick and hard enough to ensure that the soles of your feet are fully protected. Avoid walking on hot sandy beaches and pavements.
Avoid Uncomfortable Shoes
Tight-fitting or uncomfortable shoes, especially narrow, pointed shoes and high heels, inhibit blood circulation to the toes.
Smoking constricts the arteries and further hampers circulation to the feet.
Don’t Cross Your Legs
Crossing your legs while sitting or lying down also restricts blood flow to your feet. While traveling, stretch and flex your feet in order to encourage blood flow.
Schedule Periodic Foot Examinations
Consult with experts to avoid diabetic foot complications. Don’t let a small issue worsen. Visit Foot and Ankle specialists of New Mexico for regular examinations.
In addition to diabetic foot care, it is vital to control and manage blood sugar levels through medications, monitoring your blood glucose, good diet, exercise, and regular checkups. Consult with a specialist to ensure that your efforts are effective and to minimize risk of diabetic foot complication.
Call us at (505) 814-6466 to schedule a consultation.