Diabetic Foot Care
Diabetes causes a number of physical side effects that conspire to create the potential for serious foot problems for diabetic patients. Diabetic foot care is a very important part of keeping healthy when you have diabetes. Peripheral neuropathy causes numbness in the extremities, so you may not notice if you stub your toe or injure your foot in some way. Dry skin is not only easily injured, but can crack or split on its own, creating an opportunity for infection to set in. Poor blood circulation to the extremities means the injured foot can not heal as quickly as it should. All of these things combine to create on of the most notorious side-effects of diabetes: foot ulcers and gangrene that, if not treated promptly, can lead to amputation. Proper diabetic foot care can not only prevent many diabetes-related injuries and infections, but ensures that you will notice any injuries or problems early enough to have them treated promptly.
Good diabetic foot care starts with regular cleaning and moisturizing of your feet. A heated foot spa helps make regular foot care more enjoyable and relaxing. After washing your feet (anti bacterial soap may be a good choice), dry them thoroughly with a soft towel, and then use a high-quality lotion to keep your skin moisturized. Some companies make special diabetic foot lotions and creams, designed specifically for the needs of diabetic dry skin. While you are going through your wash & lotion routine, you should examine your feet for any signs of cracked skin, bruising or abrasions. Does it look like your shoes may be squeezing or rubbing your feet? Are your socks leaving marks from the toe seams? Anything out of the ordinary should be noted, and looked after. If any sign of infection sets in, go to your doctor immediately!
Many companies manufacture special socks and shoes for diabetics also. These are also an important part of proper diabetic foot care. Soft, cushioned socks with no seams at the toes help prevent chafing injuries to the skin. Comfortable, properly fitted shoes, with extra-cushioned orthotic insoles won’t pinch your feet, and help prevent pressure injuries to the soles of your feet. While diabetic shoes and socks may be more expensive than regular footwear, taking proper care of your feet is much less expensive than paying for a hospital visit to treat an advanced infection (or even an amputation!). Good diabetic foot care is a very worthwhile investment for anyone with diabetes.
There are many products that aren’t even designed specifically for diabetic foot care that can be very helpful anyway. “Spa” gel moisturizing socks, designed to be worn while you sleep, help keep your skin soft and healthy. Foot massagers and massage slippers can help improve blood circulation, especially important to help heal existing injuries. “Natural” shoe companies, like Earth Shoes, Birkenstock and Haflinger, with contoured foot beds in their shoes, and shoes that are shaped to feet your left and right feet separately, are good for diabetic patients. Gel shoe insoles can add an extra layer of cushioning to any pair of shoes. There are many options on the market today that will help you create and maintain your own personal diabetic foot care regimen.
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