Diabetes is a disease that affects the whole body, including the eyes, kidneys, nerves and feet. Foot problems in diabetics are a particular concern, due to nerve damage and circulation issues. Nerve damage can result in loss of feeling, meaning an injury can go unnoticed and become infected. Poor circulation inhibits the body’s natural healing process, giving way to infection, ulcers and gangrene.
In diabetics, a minor foot injury can become a serious problem in a short period of time. Therefore, proper care and prevention is an essential part of maintaining optimum health. The following foot care procedures should be followed to keep feet healthy and free of infection:
Inspect your feet daily
Check the tops and bottoms of your feet each day. Look for redness, swelling, cuts, bruises and blisters. Look for any dry or cracked skin, and check for ingrown toenails.
Wash and dry your feet every day
Using a mild soap, wash your feet with warm water. Thoroughly dry your feet by patting them with a clean towel; do not rub. Apply lotion to clean feet, avoiding the area between the toes.
Trim your toenails
Soften nails first by soaking them in warm water. Cut toenails straight across; avoid cutting into the corners. Smooth nail edges with a nail file. Do not trim the cuticles.
Wear socks and shoes
Socks and shoes can help protect your feet from injury. Choose natural-fiber socks (cotton, wool or cotton-wool blend) that fit snugly but are not too tight. Avoid shoes that are open in the toe or heel. When buying new footwear, try on shoes with the socks you normally wear. Only wear new shoes for one hour at a time until they are broken in.
See your doctor
Your feet should be examined by a doctor at least once a year. Be sure to report any changes in the color, shape or sensitivity of your feet. You should also see your doctor if you experience any foot problems, including:
- Athlete's foot
- Sores or wounds on your feet
- Ingrown toenails
- Increasing numbness or pain
- Blackening of skin
- Hammer toes (Source: WebMD)