If you have diabetes, taking care of your feet is an important part of your daily routine. High blood sugar can lead to nerve damage. Nerve damage decreases your ability to feel sensations, like pain, heat, and cold. The loss of these protective sensations puts you at an increased risk for injury, permanent deformity, and even possible amputation. About half of all people with diabetes have some kind of nerve damage. Diabetes may also reduce blood flow to your feet, making it harder to heal from an injury or resist infection. The good news is that you can help prevent or delay damage from happening by keeping your blood sugar as close to your target levels as possible. This will also help you to feel your best! 

 

Tips to Prevent or Delay Damage

  • Keep your blood pressure below 140/90 mmHg (or the target your doctor has set)
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Limit or avoid alcohol
  • Stop smoking or don’t start
  • Follow a healthy eating plan
  • Take medicines as prescribed by your doctor
  • Lose weight (5-10%) if you are overweight or obese

 

Practice Good Daily Foot Care

  • Wash your feet in warm water every day. Don’t soak your feet because that can dry out your skin
  • Dry your feet well, especially between toes
  • Keep your skin soft with a moisturizing lotion, but do not apply lotion between your toes
  • Inspect your feet every day for cuts, blisters, sores, redness, calluses, or other problems
  • Always wear clean, soft, moisture-wicking socks & shoes that fit well
  • To avoid injuring your feet, never walk barefoot indoors or outdoors
  • Before putting your shoes on, feel the insides for sharp edges, cracks, pebbles, or anything that could harm your feet
  • Toenails need care on a regular basis. It may be best to consult a footcare specialist before attempting to cut your own toenails

 

When to See Your Doctor

  • You have a cut or sore on your foot that’s infected or won’t heal
  • You have increasing numbness or pain
  • If you have any calluses, warts, or corns (DO NOT try and treat them yourself with over the counter remedies. Ask your doctor to remove them safely)
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Any part of your foot is swollen, red, hot to the touch, changed in shape or size, or hurts when you move it

 

Be sure and join us for our next Diabetes Support Group on Thursday, July 14th. We will have Kim Harris, Nurse Manager with the NMC Health Wound Healing & Hyperbaric Center to further discuss tips on keeping your feet healthy. If you would like to attend either the zoom or in person meeting, please call our office at 316-804-6147 or click the button below.

 

Resources:

ADA: Diabetes Foot Complications.  https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes/foot-complications

ADA:  Diabetes Foot Care Tips.  https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/seniors/foot-care-tips