Diabetes can affect different parts of your body, including your feet and legs. Diabetes can adversely affect your feet and legs in three main ways: reduced blood flow to your feet, loss of sensation in your feet and increased risk of infection.
Here are 7 tips that will assist with managing your diabetic foot health.
- Check your feet each day, especially every night before you go to bed, for any wounds, cracks, a foreign body or blisters. Diabetes can affect your nervous system and the loss of sensation means that sometimes you may not notice if you have a sore on your foot that may require treatment.
- Don’t go barefoot, always keep your feet protected in shoes. Not having protection on your feet means you are more prone to infection, burning your feet in the sun, stepping on something sharp and not feeling it.
- Wear shoes and socks with diabetes friendly features, such as shoes with a wider toe box, firm heel counter and good lacing mechanism to support your feet, and socks without seams that are made from a breathable cotton material to prevent infections.
- Maintain good foot hygiene. Change your socks every day, clean your feet each day and dry well, especially in between your toes. You might use a tea-tree spray to help prevent fungal and bacterial infections. Also, make sure to moisturise your feet daily to prevent dry and cracked skin (but don’t apply it in between your toes).
- See your Podiatrist regularly for foot care, advice and diabetes-related nerve and blood flow testing.
- Keep active and do some low impact exercises that won’t put too much stress on your body, such as water walking/water resistive exercises, cycling, Pilates and yoga. Of course, if you feel up to more vigorous exercise, then go for it (but check with your doctor first, if you haven’t done much exercise in a while).
- If corns and calluses develop on your feet, don’t try and remove them yourself, see your Podiatrist for professional help to avoid any unwanted problems.