Proper foot care is more important for those suffering from diabetes than it is for perhaps any other single group of people. Complications of diabetes can cause serious problems with the feet and legs, sometimes so serious that amputation becomes necessary. Although there is not a cure for diabetes yet, it is entirely possible to keep some of the worst diabetic foot issues from happening. Below, you'll learn two key ways to prevent foot issues when you suffer from diabetes.
Footwear for Diabetics
Proper footwear can be key in preventing diabetic foot complications. Your podiatrist may recommend custom diabetic shoes, or custom orthotic devices that transform regular walking shoes. By wearing shoes that are properly designed, you'll get several benefits.
- Relieve pressure on painful areas like the balls of the feet
- Relieve the pain that results from improper foot placement or irregular walking patterns
- Reduce or prevent the development of blisters, corns, calluses, and other foot issues
Wearing diabetic socks can also be beneficial. This type of sock is designed to maximize circulation since lack of circulation is a leading reason for diabetic foot issues. Diabetic socks for men and women should fit well and should never constrict or be tight. Podiatrists may recommend sock fabrics like cotton, wool, or acrylic based on their ability to absorb excess moisture, including the moisture that typically accompanies an open wound.
Self Checks for Diabetics
While it is important to get your feet checked at least once a year by your podiatrist, most of the feet monitoring is actually going to be up to you. Watch out for signs of diabetic foot problems on a daily basis by checking your feet, ankles, and lower legs thoroughly. Watch for
- Change in Skin Color: If skin is much lighter or darker than usual, it may be an indicator of circulation issues. This is especially true if the color of the feet is dramatically different than the rest of the body. If circulation issues are present, new footwear like that discussed above might be helpful.
- Blisters: An occasional blister is just an inconvenience for most people, but for diabetics it can be a challenging wound that won't heal if it's not dealt with immediately. Your podiatrist may recommend topical ointments or creams to help speed the healing.
- Swelling: Swelling of the feet, ankles, and lower legs can indicate that edema has set in. This type of water retention is common in diabetics and it's important to take steps to reduce it before it worsens. Your podiatrist may recommend a diuretic accompanied by elevating the feet to alleviate swelling.
- Heel Cracks: Heel cracks may happen in diabetic patients due to pressure on the feet. This problem won't resolve on its own, but the podiatrist may recommend topical creams or ointments combined with reduced daily pressure on the feet.
All of these problems can be dealt with - and sometimes completely avoided - if you take some smart proactive measures like those discussed here. If you are currently dealing with any of the diabetic foot problems discussed above, be sure that you speak with your podiatrist before implementing any solutions or cures for the best possible results.