Preventative footcare is one of the best ways to avoid diabetic foot complications. People with Diabetes are more likely to develop complications as time goes on, usually due to the gradual changes in vascular (blood flow) and neurological (nerve supply) status.
As time goes on, people with Diabetes are more likely to experience peripheral neuropathy. This neuropathy affects the extremities, typically beginning in the feet, or sometimes in the hands. The onset begins with small changes in sensation, or feeling. Some people experience slight numbness, others get that “pins and needles” sensation. Diabetes affects how the nerves are nourished, and over time, impairments become noticeable.
Another common complication linked to Diabetes is peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Similar to peripheral neuropathy, PAD affects the extremities. PAD is characterized by the narrowing of the blood vessels in the extremities. This impairment increases the risk of a foot complication.
Daily footcare is one of the best ways to prevent a small problem from becoming a big complication. Here are 5 simple tips you can incorporate into your daily routine:
- Thoroughly wash and dry your feet everyday. Use warm water and mild soap. Dry feet thoroughly, especially between the toes.
- Inspect both feet — top and bottom! Look for any changes to the skin; redness, cracks, blisters, cuts, bruises or other changes. Use a small mirror to see the bottom of your feet, or ask someone to check them for you.
- Inspect and maintain your toenails. Check daily for any cracks, ingrown nails or other changes. Keep toenails trimmed straight across and file any sharp edges. Don’t trim nails too short.
- Moisturize soles and heels. Apply lotion to the soles and the heels of your feet. Avoid putting lotion between the toes, as excessive moisture can cause fungus and other infections.
- Always wear clean socks and well-fitting shoes. Whenever possible, wear light coloured socks. If you have a cut or a blister, the drainage will be more noticeable on the light coloured fabric. Avoid socks with tight elastic or a thick seam. Always check the insides of your shoes for pebbles or other objects.
These daily footcare tips will help you get started, but this is just the beginning! Depending on your occupation, activities, footwear and other health history, you may need a more comprehensive plan to prevent foot complications.
An annual comprehensive foot exam is essential for preventing major complications and recognizing when a change needs to be made. A comprehensive foot exam should always include an overall assessment, sensation testing and vascular testing. Your SoleScience Pedorthist can perform a full exam and make recommendations based on the assessment results.
If you have any questions, or to book your annual foot exam, contact your SoleScience pedorthist today!