A comprehensive diabetes treatment
plan doesn't just address controlling blood sugar levels, but also how to manage
the other challenges
that come with having
diabetes. Diabetics often have poor circulation which can cause many foot
problems. Proper diabetes foot care can
prevent or alleviate these problems, as well as prevent additional complications.
Here are a few tips for healthy feet.
Control your blood sugar levels.
High glucose levels
damage nerve cells and usually affects the feet first.
Check your feet every day. Look for changes in color, shape and loss of
sensitivity. Note if there is any numbness, or if there is any redness, and
whether new sores
Trim & file your toenails. Look for
nail clippers for diabetics,
which are designed to minimize the risk of injury. Avoid long toenails as they are
prone to breaking and infection. Sharp toenails may cut sensitive skin, especially
when compressed within a shoe.
Get plenty of physical exercise.
Controlling your weight and blood pressure is part of a diabetes treatment plan.
Exercise may prevent or slow peripheral arterial disease (narrowing or blocking of the blood
vessels in the feet by fatty deposits). Any type exercise can help, and even
short periods of exercise are beneficial. Walk, hike, swim, do aqua-aerobics,
dance, take an exercise class, join a fun sports league, weight-train or
circuit-train, or play a silly game of tag with the kids. You can even buy
or other exercise DVDs to use in the comfort of your own home.
Get a sturdy, comfortable pair of shoes.
Make sure that they are wide enough that your toes aren't pinched,
and there aren't any parts that rub against your feet.
Check inside your shoe before slipping in your foot. Empty
any pebbles and straighten the tongue to avoid pressure points.
Do not allow your feet to get too hot or too cold. In temperature
extremes, protect your feet from the elements. Wear shoes at the beach
to avoid sunburn, wear boots in the snow to avoid frostbite.
Break in your new shoes.
If you feel a hot spot on your foot, this is the first sign of a blister.
Stop and adjust that part of the shoe.
Smoking constricts small blood vessels in the body and
decreases the blood flow to the feet. This makes healing much slower, and
over time foot problems may worsen and make amputation a necessity.
Being alert to signs that something may be wrong with your feet is
very important for diabetics. Here is one woman's story:
If you notice cuts, foot ulcers or nail problems that won't heal, have your doctor
check and treat them. Mention any changes in color of the skin, shape of the foot,
poor circulation, or other issues. Your healthcare provider will be able to tell
if peripheral or focal neuropathy
is advancing or if blood circulation is poor. He or she may recommend a visit to a
podiatrist for further treatment or injury prevention advice. Good diabetes foot care
is an important part of self-care for diabetics.
The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience,
and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual
situation should be directed to your doctor.