According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020, 34.2 million Americans—just over 1 in 10—have diabetes. It’s important for individuals with diabetes to take particular care of their feet. Diabetes can cause nerve damage that reduces blood flow to your extremities, making your feet numb. This may make it difficult to feel when you are developing sores, cracked feet, bunions, hammertoes, blisters and more.
Left unchecked, these issues will get worse and require medical help or even hospitalization for gangrene or amputation. Below are tips for proper footcare for those living with diabetes. For more questions about diabetic footcare in the Twin Cities area, contact TC Foot & Ankle Clinic.
Check Your Feet Daily
Foot and ankle experts suggest that you check both the tops and bottoms of your feet daily. If you can’t see your feet from all angles, use a handheld mirror or ask a family member or friend to help you. Keep an eye out for cuts, blisters, swelling, redness, cracked heels, hangnails, ingrown toenails, and nail fungus.
Bathe Your Feet Each Day
Using warm water, mild soap, and a soft washcloth or sponge, gently wash your feet once a day. Don’t soak your feet, however, as oversoaking can cause the skin to breakdown and become more vulnerable to infection. Blot your feet dry with a soft towel, making sure to reach between the toes.
Too prevent your feet, especially your heels, from becoming overly dry and cracking, moisturize them daily. Never put lotion between your toes as this can lead to a fungal infection.
Toenails should be trimmed about once a week. Cut the nail straight across and file the edges; cutting nails rounded can lead to ingrown toenails. Be careful not to trim them too short. Never use scissors, clippers or medicated pads to remove corns or calluses at home, but make an appointment at a foot and ankle clinic to have them properly treated.
Clean dry socks are a must for diabetic feet. Look for special diabetic socks made from moisture-wicking material, which have extra cushioning, come above the ankle and do not have elastic at the top. Change into clean socks daily.
Before putting your shoes on, turn them upside down and shake them to remove any pebbles, sand or foreign materials. If your feet are numb, you won’t be able to feel these items rubbing as you walk. Never go barefoot; be sure to wear shoes or sturdy slippers, even around home. Avoid high heels, tight shoes and opened toes shoes or sandals. Be sure to wear warm boots with good traction in colder weather.
Diet and Smoking
Finally, commit yourself to control your blood sugar levels by following a healthy diet and exercising, and don’t smoke. Smoking restricts blood flow to your hands and feet.
Regular Foot Exams
At Twin Cities Foot & Ankle Clinic, we offer our clients the very best in foot and ankle care. Taking simple steps to monitor your feet daily will protect you from developing serious diabetic foot-related issues that could lead to toe loss and worse. Regular foot checkups will ensure that we can catch problems while they are still treatable. Please schedule a visit at one of our Twin Cities area clinics today.