Most people think of diabetes as just a blood sugar problem. However, diabetes also causes nerve and blood vessel damage, which can lead to problems with the feet. Roughly 70 percent of people with diabetes experience neuropathy and lose feeling in their feet and hands or get infections. To ensure good foot health, follow these five suggestions for diabetic foot care:
- Pay Attention to Your Feet - Nerve damage is a complication of diabetes, which makes it hard to feel when you have sores or cracks in your feet. Pay attention to changes in color, any sores or dry, cracked skin. If you can’t see your feet easily, ask for help or try putting a mirror on the floor so you can see under your feet.
- Invest in Good Shoes and Socks – When you have diabetes, shoe shopping requires a little bit more effort. Look for shoes with more depth in the toe box, good coverage of both top and bottom, and withoutseams inside the shoe that might potentially rub on your foot. Also look for socks without seams, are padded and made from cotton or another material that controls moisture.
- Don’t Go Barefoot – If you have diabetes, you should wear shoes whenever you’re inside or out. Walking around inside barefoot puts your feet at risk for small cuts, scrapes, splinters, and more. Even worse, if you suffer from neuropathy, you might not notice these dangerous damages until they become infected. It’s best to wear shoes at all times, even inside.
- See a Podiatrist – If you end up with foot issues such as bunions, callouses, corns, or other injuries, don’t waste time at the drugstore looking for over-the-counter solutions. Some products are irritating to your skin and can actually increase the risk of infection. Go see a podiatrist.
- Low-Impact Exercise – Everyone can benefit from exercise. This is no different if you suffer from diabetes. However, you need to be smart about your choices. Look for low-impact options that don’t require bouncing, jumping or leaping, since you would come down hard on your feet. Low-impact aerobics, water aerobics and just plain walking are great options. Just make sure you’re wearing the proper footwear for whatever you choose!