Diabetic Foot Care
Why is Diabetic Footcare Important
Diabetes can affect the blood circulation and the nerves. As the feet are the furthest away from the core of the body they are often affected first. Good control of blood sugar prevents damage to the circulation and nerves.
Neuropathy refers to nerve damage which affects a person's ability to feel pain. As a result, it is easy to continue walking normally even when there is a stone in the shoe or when the shoe is rubbing and causing a blister. Therefore, checking feet daily and wearing correctly fitted good quality shoes is very important. When the circulation is diminished wounds are often more difficult to heal and in more severe cases they progress to gangrene. Consequently, prevention of wounds and early wound care is vital.
Taking a little time daily to look after your feet could prevent an amputation.
Tips for good diabetic foot care
• Wash your feet daily with mild soap and water
a) Do not soak your feet for more than 5 minutes.
b) Dry your feet carefully paying particular attention to areas between the toes.
c) Avoid talc.
• Apply moisturizer to the feet daily but not between the toes.
• Cut toenails straight and file off any sharp corners
a) Do not cut nails too short. There should be a small white line still visible after cutting.
• Do not use cream between the toes unless advised by your podiatrist or doctor.
• Do not use corn plasters as these can lead to ulcers as they contain strong acids.
• Do not cut your own corns and calluses - leave it to a podiatrist with sterile equipment.
• Check your feet daily - between the toes, around the heels and on the soles.
a) If you are unable to see or reach your feet, use a mirror or ask someone to help.
b) Look for cuts, swelling, areas of redness, blisters, discharge of fluid or pus.
• If you have a wound, wash it with saline. Dry carefully with a clean cloth and apply antiseptic. Cover with a non-adherent dressing (not a plaster or gauze). If the wound looks infected, please see your doctor.
• Wear shoes with fastening - lace, buckle or velcro strap.
• General advice
a) Exercise regularly
b) Avoid smoking as it affects blood flow
c) Good control of blood sugars helps to avoid all complications, therefore, home monitoring is vital.
d) Schedule yearly foot assessments of your nerves and circulation, as well as footwear checks with your podiatrist, diabetic nurse or doctor.
Read more about the Right Shoes for Diabetics on our blog!