Having diabetes is tough already. Between having to watch your blood sugar levels and diet and seeing your doctor regularly, people with this condition have to deal with a lot. On top of all that, oftentimes diabetics experience foot problems as a result of either condition.
According to the CDC, nearly 50 percent of diabetic sufferers have some form of nerve damage in the feet (also called diabetic neuropathy) as a result of the disease. When diabetes impacts the feet, the main signs to look out for are wounds such as cuts or sores that take longer to heal and loss of feeling in the feet.
If you have diabetes and are experiencing a loss of sensation in your feet or are noticing that it takes much longer for your wounds to heal, you should see your doctor right away, as this may indicate a progression in your diabetes.
For those of you who are aware of how diabetes affects your feet but have the issue under control, you may be wondering how to take proper care of your feet. Here are some helpful daily tips you can follow to help your precious feet stay as healthy as possible.
Get a good peek. It’s hard to know if your feet are being affected by your diabetes if you don’t look to actually see how they’re doing. Take a detailed glance in the mirror. Do your feet look swollen, discolored (either pinkish or bluish in color), or have sores or calluses that won’t heal? If so, it may be time to address the concern with your doctor to make sure your diabetes is under control and has not gotten worse.
Keep the blood flow to your feet in check. Don’t wait for fatigue to set into your feet to elevate them and give them a break. Make it a habit to raise your feet a few times a day – whether on a chair, ottoman or on the couch. This helps ensure proper blood flow to your feet and legs, which is important for avoiding the loss of feeling in your feet.
Choose your shoes wisely. Many people underestimate the importance of properly fitting shoes. When a shoe fits well, it will normally be snug, but not too tight. It also shouldn’t be too loose so that the toes and ankle move around a lot in the shoe. And when wearing a new pair of shoes, remember to wear them only a few hours at a time to avoid putting too much pressure on your feet. That could affect blood flow.
The right temperature is key. With the colder months approaching fast, it’s important to always keep your feet warm. This ensures proper blood circulation and flow and helps avoid the loss of feeling in the feet. The same goes with hot weather that can potentially cause uncomfortable or painful rashes when feet become sweaty or exposed to high temps. Your feet should feel warm but not too cold to the touch.
Stay active. Just as you shouldn’t stay standing or sitting for too long if you’re diabetic, you also should avoid a completely sedentary life. Make it a priority to take daily walks when the weather permits or take a swim or bike ride. You can also take a yoga class for a more relaxing experience. However, always be sure to consult with your doctor about which exercises are right for you.
Following these above foot care tips for diabetes will help keep your feet healthy and thriving. However, these suggestions should never take the place of routine doctor visits. So, remember to make those regular appointments with your podiatrist to ensure your feet are getting the best possible care for your unique health circumstances.
As always, if your feet are hurting for any reason, make sure to call our Evanston office – Evanston Podiatric Surgeons at 847-475-9030, or Downtown Chicago office –Mag Mile Foot and Ankle Institute at 312-236-3507. Our care options for foot injuries and pain include some of the most cutting-edge procedures and technologies available!