Are you someone who struggles with diabetes and diabetic foot care on the Central Coast? Although foot problems may pop up for just about everyone at some point in their life, foot concerns as a diabetic must be taken seriously as they have the ability to be debilitating if not careful. If you’re a diabetic, common foot problems could possibly lead to infection and amputation. Don’t worry – Coast Sport Podiatrist, Matt Shanahan has you covered with tips below on how to prevent diabetic foot problems
Feet must last us a lifetime but with Diabetes, they can be under real threat of failing to make the distance. This is worrying as feet are generally our most important form of transport.
There are many complications that can occur with diabetes but those that affect the diabetic foot include poor or compromised circulation/blood supply to the feet and if you’re a diabetic, you can cause damage to your blood vessels.
Another thing you may experience is inadequate sensation. When this happens in generally means Nerve damage commonly referred to as diabetic foot neuropathy which is a complication that is common with diabetes.
These two complications can create a multitude of diabetic foot problems which can lead to a diabetic foot infection, diabetic foot ulcers, gangrene and possibly amputation of the foot and/or leg/s.
While this may sound extreme it is something to be very cautious of, the good news is, this can be prevented with good foot care, proper education and management. Diabetes is a disease where you may not actually be feeling sick which unfortunately may contribute to your relaxed mindset toward developing diabetes complications. Sadly, it can happen to anyone. If you’re someone who struggles with diabetes, you have a long list of worries to check off your diabetic checklist. Did I inject my insulin? How are my sugars looking? Have I eaten a balanced diet today? These factors may contribute to a large portion of your stress and mental health. With that being said, you don’t want to be worrying about your diabetic foot care as well. Prevention is crucial and quite simple.
Here’s what you can do to prevent foot problems with diabetes:
Check your feet thoroughly every day
Here you are checking for damage of any kind, (eg. tinea, cuts, scratches, corns, etc.) If you notice any cuts or scratches, then apply an antiseptic cream or liquid.
If the problem doesn’t resolve within two days, contact us at Coast Sport to see Podiatrist, Matt Shanahan.
Always wear footwear
Footwear plays a crucial role in protecting our feet, especially when you have Diabetes. They help to prevent damage from foreign objects and the environment. Ensure shoes fit correctly as irritation from shoes can cause lesions, corns, ulceration, blistering and infection. Use your hands to check the inside of your shoes regularly for any possible irritants or splinters. Sometimes specific diabetic shoes are required for those with hard to fit feet.
Never wear socks or stockings with tight elastic tops
When choosing hosiery be sure that there are no tight elastic bands on them. These often cause restriction in blood supply. Diabetic socks need to fit loosely with no prominent seams.
If you experience cold feet in winter, wear socks to bed. Be careful to wear footwear or socks in cold weather to avoid chilblains or frostbite but keep in mind, you do not want to be using hot water bottles or heating pads of any kind on your feet.
Daily walks for 20 to 30 minutes help to improve blood supply to your feet and have a positive effect on your Diabetes in general. If you’re having trouble walking, see your Podiatrist. Try cycling or swimming until you can walk comfortably. Alternatively here are some tips on Exercise and Diabetes from Exercise Physiologist, Leigh-Anne McBride.
Wash your feet daily with mild soap and lukewarm water
Ensure the water is not too hot and dry your feet thoroughly, especially between your toes.
Use a moisturiser after bathing your feet
Dry skin and cracking can occur especially if you bathe the feet for too long. Avoid bathing the feet for longer than 15 minutes and apply moisturising lotion regularly. Avoid this between the toes where it tends to be moist naturally.
Avoid sitting with your legs crossed
Sitting with your legs crossed cause problems with your circulation.
Smoking decreases blood supply to your feet predisposing you to infection and other foot problems.
Visit your Central Coast Podiatrist for regular check ups
Some may only need reviewing every six months, others may need to be seen monthly. Your diabetic foot care needs will be determined by the current state of your feet and how diligent you are in preventing diabetic foot problems. Ask for advice on how to care for your skin and trim toenails correctly.
Communication is key between you and your podiatrist. If in doubt about anything at all, contact your Podiatrist. Prevention is always far better than cure especially when dealing with diabetic foot care.