For some health conditions, all it takes is a couple of weeks of medication or a surgical procedure to resolve the problem once and for all. Diabetes is not one of those conditions. Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment that requires knowledge, vigilance, and proactive steps to prevent the many risks and complications that can arise.
Some of the biggest dangers faced by people with diabetes relate to their feet. Diabetes can put you at particular risk for serious foot ailments that can lead to painful foot ulcers or amputation if not recognized, diagnosed, and treated at an early stage.
This is why foot care is so critical for folks with diabetes. But taking care of your feet does not have to be complicated. All it takes is commitment and some simple, common-sense steps to significantly reduce the likelihood of severe diabetes-related foot conditions.
Why Diabetes Puts Feet At Risk
The most significant factor that makes diabetes a danger to your feet is the reduction in feeling and sensation that often affects the extremities.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage, which, in turn, may diminish the ability to feel pain. Through pain, our nerves let us know that something is wrong. The inability to feel pain in the extremities, including the feet, means that a person with diabetes may not be aware that they have developed a foot ulcer, infection, fungus, or other issues until they become extremely severe. Additionally, diabetes reduces blood flow to the legs and feet, making it harder for diabetic foot wounds to heal.
Inspect Your Feet Every Single Day
Since your nerves may not alert you to foot problems, it will be up to your eyes to do so. As such, the most important thing you can do to prevent diabetic foot problems is to carefully inspect your feet every single day.
Look closely at the bottom and top of each foot, and check between your toes using a magnifying glass or mirror if necessary. Keep your eyes out for cracks, blisters, cuts, redness, nail discoloration, or swelling. If you see any such problems, make an appointment with your podiatrist as soon as you can.
Other Diabetic Foot Care Essentials
In addition to inspecting your feet each day, make the following habits part of your diabetic foot care program as well:
- Wash your feet every day with some mild soap and lukewarm water. Give extra attention to the areas between your toes. Dry your feet and toes thoroughly and then use talcum powder to keep them dry.
- Quit smoking.
- Wear shoes that do not cause irritation or friction.
- Always wear clean, dry socks, including to bed if your feet tend to get cold at night.
- Elevate your feet when sitting down to keep the blood flowing. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down at various points throughout the day.
- See a podiatrist at least once a year for a thorough foot examination.
Of course, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is also an essential component of managing diabetes and minimizing the risk of complications, including those that can affect your feet.
Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes stay in control of their condition and their lives without the need for inconvenient and burdensome finger-pricking multiple times a day.
Ask your doctor about CGM and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.