World Diabetes Day 14 November 2015

With World Diabetes Day coming up on the 14th of November here is some interesting information pertaining to the least remembered part of diabetic care, FEET.

DIABETIC FOOT CARE

Why do people with diabetes get “Diabetic feet”?

If you have diabetes, your blood glucose, or blood sugar levels are too high. Over time, this can damage your nerves and/or blood vessels.

Nerve damage from diabetes can cause you to lose feeling in your feet. You may not feel a cut, blister or sore. Foot injuries such as these can cause ulcers and infections.

Inadequate blood flow increases the healing time for cuts and sores. Poor blood flow increases the risk that infections will not heal. This, in turn, increases the risk of ulcers and gangrene, which is tissue death that occurs in a localized area when there is an inadequate blood supply.

Can ‘diabetic feet” be prevented?

Taking good care of your feet can prevent problems before they start! Use the following tips to reduce your risk of common foot problems and serious complications associated with them.

Prevention:

  • Living with diabetes requires you to pay special attention to your overall health and your condition. Follow your doctors, dietician and physiotherapists instructions regarding diet, exercise and medication. Keeping your blood sugar levels within the recommended range is one of the best things you can do to control your condition and protect your feet.
  • Carefully inspect your feet daily for redness, blisters, sores, calluses and other signs of irritation. Daily foot checks are especially important if you have inadequate blood flow.
  • Follow these foot care tips to properly care for your feet:
    • Wash your feet daily with soap and warm water
    • Avoid soaking your feet
    • Dry your feet completely after bathing, paying special attention to the areas between the toes
    • Avoid applying lotion to the areas between the toes
    • Ask your doctor or a nurse which lotion is best for your skin type and health condition
  • Use the following toenail care tips to help prevent ingrown toenails:
    • Once a week, examine your toenails.
    • Trim toenails straight across using a nail clipper
    • Avoid rounding or trimming down the sides of the toenails
    • Smooth rough nail edges after trimming
  • Proper footwear, socks and stockings can go a long way to help protect your feet. Follow these tips:
    • Choose well fitted socks or stockings.
    • Wear socks to bed if your feet get chilly.
    • Avoid sandals and walking barefoot at home
    • Wear properly fitting shoes
    • Wear shoes made of soft material
    • Protect your feet by always wearing slippers or closed-toed shoes
  • Follow these tips to keep blood flowing to your feet:
    • If you can, prop your feet up when sitting down.
    • Wiggle your toes frequently.
    • Take frequent breaks to flex and point your toes
    • Circle your feet in both directions
    • Avoid crossing your legs
  • Avoid smoking, and if you do smoke, quit. Smoking aggravates blood flow problems
  • People who have diabetes should see a foot doctor every 2 to 3 months, even when not experiencing foot problems. At each check-up, ask the doctor to thoroughly examine your feet.

When should you contact a doctor?

  • Changes in skin colour or temperature
  • Foot or ankle swelling
  • The appearance of calluses, ingrown toenails, infected toenails, dry or cracked skin
  • Leg pain
  • Oozing, open sores that appear to be draining and are slow to heal