Taking care of your feet is essential for everyone, but it is especially important if you have diabetes. In fact, the NHS reported that people with diabetes are up to 15 times more likely to receive amputation as a result of a foot problem.
In our latest blog, we will discuss some of the best diabetic foot care practices and other ways you can look after your feet.
Regularly inspect your feet
Checking your feet regularly should be something that you do whether you struggle with diabetes or not. This is especially true, however, if you do have diabetes. Diabetes can cause a loss of sensation in your feet, and without checking, you might not be aware of any injuries or issues on your feet.
A good practice is to check your feet at the end of each day when you take off your socks, making sure to check your entire foot; you can use a mirror to look at the bottom of your feet if you struggle to lift them up. If you struggle with movement or vision, you can always ask someone to help you or visit a podiatrist for regular checkups.
You should check for anything out of the ordinary, whether it be a cut, scrape, strange lump, or painful toenail. If you find anything out of the ordinary, you should contact a podiatrist as soon as possible. Foot problems can very quickly worsen, and the key to preventing further problems is quick and proper treatment.
Cut your toenails correctly
While it may seem like a simple task, there are still many people who do not know how to cut toenails correctly. If you have diabetes, incorrectly cutting your toenails could damage the skin and lead to infection, so it is important you learn the best way to cut them.
When cutting your toenails, you should:
- Begin by washing your toenail clippers to ensure they are clean and clear of any bacteria that could potentially harm your feet if you accidentally damage the skin.
- Cut them straight, aligned along the top of your toe. Do not curve the nail when cutting, as this can promote ingrowing toenails. You can use an emery board or nail file to remove any sharp edges or corners.
- Clean your nails after with a gentle nail brush, do not use sharp points or scissors that could potentially damage the skin or your nails.
Lead a healthy lifestyle
Eating well and exercising regularly is a great way to help manage your diabetes and, in turn, help your general foot care. Try getting some support from a dietician to ensure you are eating a well-balanced diet and getting all the vitamins and nutrients that you need.
You should also keep active by exercising regularly; this is especially true if you work in an office and sit for long periods of the day. You can join a gym and speak with a personal trainer or consult with your health care professional to learn more about the best exercises you should be doing.
While we are on the subject of health and well-being, if you smoke, STOP! It’s widely known that smoking isn’t good for you, but with diabetes, smoking can greatly improve the risk of you getting serious foot problems. Smoking makes it harder for your blood to circulate and move around your body, as does diabetes to your feet so it can worsen the loss of feeling in your feet.
Wash and moisturise your feet every day
Washing and moisturising your feet daily is just as important as regular inspections. It is a simple and effective way of preventing fungal infections, cracked heels, and more.
The best way to wash your feet is by simply using soap, warm water and a soft washcloth or sponge. You should be careful that the water is not too hot as this can cause injury to your feet, especially if you have a reduced feeling of sensation in your feet and try not to leave your feet in the water for too long as this can soften the skin and make them more prone to injury.
Once you have washed your feet, you should apply a soothing moisturiser. Don’t apply this in between your toes, as moisture can build up here and cause fungal infections.
Choose the right footwear
If your shoes and socks are too tight and restrict your feet in any way or too loose and cause excess rubbing and friction, you should change them as soon as possible. Choosing the best-fitting footwear is imperative to your overall foot health. When choosing your shoes and socks, you should ensure that:
- Your shoes are not too loose or too tight. Try to have your feet measured and fitted every time you go to buy some new shoes, as your feet will change in size and shape.
- Choose shoes with a wider toe box to provide enough room for your toes and not squeeze them together.
- Choose shoes that have enough ankle and arch support.
- Choose shoes that can be securely fastened to prevent your feet from sliding around as you move.
If you are unsure which fit or style is best for you, speak to a professional. We can advise you on which shoes would be best for your lifestyle and prevent discomfort in doing so.
Don’t self-diagnose and self-treat
If you do happen to find a lump or bump on your foot, don’t turn to doctor Google and try to diagnose the problem yourself. Often times things can be misdiagnosed and then treated in the incorrect way, which can further worsen the situation. For example, Corn and Verrucas can often look very similar, but both require different forms of treatment.
Try to avoid using corn plasters as these can damage the healthy skin surrounding the corn and worsen the problem, and try to avoid using anything sharp to cut away any calluses you may find as this can lead to infection and, in worse cases, amputation. If you find anything on your feet, visit a podiatrist as soon as possible for a professional opinion.
Get a professional opinion
You should have your feet regularly checked by a podiatrist or foot health professional at least twice yearly. Checking your feet on your own is good practice, but things can easily be missed by someone who isn’t trained to look out for the signs of a problem.
If you do spot anything wrong with your feet, contact us today for a professional opinion from one of our highly trained podiatrists.