Sunday, July 5, 2009

Take Care of Your Feet if You Have Diabetes

Diabetes is a disease that has serious long term implications. One of these complications is the development of diabetic foot. Diabetic foot results from decreased sensitivity in the foot due to neuropathy and poor circulation. This decreased sensitivity makes it difficult for a diabetic to identify foot pain caused by minor cuts or blisters. Without the proper diagnosis, this seemingly minor ailment can develop into something much more serious. Corns, calluses, hammertoe and foot ulcers are all common complaints. In more serious cases, a runaway infection can lead to amputation.

Proactive foot care is absolutely essential. Be sure to check your feet every day. This should become part of your routine. If you are unable to clearly see your feet, get someone else to help you or use a mirror. You should look for cuts, bruises, ingrown toenails, blisters, or anything else that can lead to an infection. Keep track of these scrapes or sore spots, and if they don’t heal in a timely manner be sure to see your doctor about them.

Wash your feet everyday in order to prevent infection. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly. Use lotion to keep your skin soft and supple, but make sure to use a small amount and to rub it in thoroughly. You don’t want to stick wet or damp feet into socks and shoes as this will contribute to infection.

Wear socks and shoes at all times. Because your diabetic foot makes you less sensitive to pain and temperature, you might not be aware if you step on something sharp or if your feet are burnt by the pavement. Choose pliable shoes that support your feet. Use orthopedic inserts and wear socks without seams. It is absolutely essential to avoid socks, tights or any other product with elastic that will cut off circulation to your feet.

Wiggle your toes and roll your ankles every couple of hours to make sure the blood is pumping. Don’t cross your legs when you sit down. Intersperse your daily routine with exercise and an active lifestyle. Avoid exercise that puts unnecessary stress on your lower legs or feet. Examples of recommended exercise include: walking, swimming and bicycling.

Last but not least, lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of your diabetes. Do not smoke, as smoking exacerbates poor circulation. Do your best to keep your glucose levels normal. And be in regular contact with your doctor. Remember, any cut or sore spot on your foot that does not go away in a couple of days could require medical attention.

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