One of every four diabetics develops foot complications, according to Dr. Richard Jackson from the Joslin Clinic. So proper daily foot care is a key part of managing your diabetes successfully. These tips from Jackson and other experts will help you improve your long-term foot health and avoid serious problems including vascular disease, neuropathy, and injuries.
1. Inspect Your Feet
Examine your feet carefully twice daily, preferably upon rising and before bed. Look everywhere ― including under and between your toes. Check the bottom of each foot with a mirror if necessary. Any unusual redness, inflammation, scratches, cuts, blisters, corns, calluses, and bug bites might contract infections. Swelling, redness, and warmth indicate blood flow issues that could cause foot ulcers. Cut the tops of your toenails straight before filing the edges. Don’t remove corns and calluses yourself.
2. Wash and Moisturize
Avoid hot water that can cause foot injuries. Instead, wash your feet daily with warm water and mild soap. Dry gently yet thoroughly with a soft towel, accessing areas under and between your toes. Then apply a diabetic or doctor-approved moisturizing lotion, skipping the spaces between your toes. This protective step guards against skin fissures turning into infections. Wear socks and well-fitted, comfortable shoes always to decrease or prevent your foot injury odds.
3. Encourage Blood Flow
If you have peripheral vascular disease, narrowed or obstructed blood vessels can restrict blood flowing down to your extremities. This increases your infection risk and extends healing time. So raise and lower your ankles and wiggle your toes for five minutes two to three times per day.
Avoid crossed legs for lengthy times. If possible, elevate your feet when sitting. Eat a healthy diet and don’t smoke to promote blood reaching your feet, lower your foot ulcer chances, and promote healing.
4. Control Your Blood Sugar
Elevated blood sugar levels can increase your foot ulcer and neuropathy risks. This nerve damage may cause numbness in your feet and lead to additional serious complications. But good blood glucose control should help prevent further consequences. A Type 2 diabetes medication like Januvia can help you regulate your insulin and blood sugars. Check your blood glucose and keep records according to your doctor’s instructions. Maintaining a steady blood sugar level reduces your foot ulcer chances.
5. Consult a Podiatrist
As a diabetic, you need an annual podiatry foot exam. But scheduling more can help very active people and those with additional foot problems avoid potential unwelcome complications. If elevated blood sugars damage your nerves and blood vessels, a scratch or cut can turn into a diabetic foot ulcer.
See your podiatrist immediately for any foot wound. He may prescribe antibiotics like Minocycline and Cefzil. Then inspect your ulcer closely during daily foot checks to confirm that it’s healing properly.