Most Americans might not know to associate diabetes with feet, but diabetics can endure a whole host of foot problems.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage in the feet, so patients can’t feel things that would send a healthy person limping, such as small cuts or foreign objects in shoes. This, combined with poor circulation, which causes injuries to heal more slowly, and lowered immunity, which makes it easier for infection to set in, can cause small injuries to become real health concerns.
Diabetics are also more likely to develop skin problems, like dry, scaly skin on their feet. While usually not life-threatening, such aesthetic problems can damage self-esteem — no one wants to hide their feet the rest of their lives.
So what’s a person to do? Creating a regular foot care routine can help diabetics avoid some of the health concerns caused by their condition. Here are some tips for diabetics looking to put their best foot forward:
Inspect your feet daily. Take off your socks and shoes and look over your feet carefully, checking for small cuts, abrasions, redness, swelling or nail problems. Use a handheld mirror to make sure you can see every square inch of skin. If you notice a problem, go see your doctor.
Arrange daily foot baths. These have the added advantage of providing some much-needed pampering. Wash your feet in lukewarm water, carefully blot them dry with a soft towel and apply a moisturizing lotion, albeit not between the toes, where moist conditions can cause fungal growth.
Your foot bath is also an ideal time to beautify your feet. If you have areas of rough, dry skin, try a diabetic-friendly cosmetic product, like CalleX Exfoliating Ointment for Dry Cracked Feet, which uses all-natural enzymes to gently exfoliate dry heels and soles while moisturizing the skin. For yellow or dark toenails, try NonyX Nail Gel, which gradually softens and exfoliates unsightly keratin debris buildup under the nail. Both products can be found in the foot care section of drugstores, grocery stores and mass retailers, or visit xenna.
Wear the proper footgear. Never walk barefoot, even in your home — you could scratch or otherwise injure your foot without noticing it. Wear clean, dry socks without elastic bands, which can compromise circulation. Check your shoes for pebbles or other foreign objects before putting them on.