It can be easy to forget to look at your feet, especially if they feel just fine. This is the best time to take a look! If they feel great, you want to keep them feeling this way and it’s the right time to prevent a problem from starting.
Diabetes can be hard on feet over time because high blood glucose levels can cause nerve damage. This damage can cause your feet to feel numb or even painful. Without proper sensation, you may not feel when you have an injury or if your shoes fit too tight, which can lead to calluses, blisters, or other wounds. If left untreated, these wounds can get infected and heal more slowly if blood sugar is high and/or you already have poor blood flow in your feet (peripheral artery disease).
5 Tips to help keep your feet feeling their best:
1. Check your feet every day
Evaluate your feet every time you take a shower, or every time you put on or take off your socks and shoes. Look for red areas, blisters, sore or irritated skin as well as scratches or cuts. If it is hard to see the bottom of your feet, use a mirror on the floor to look at the bottom and sides.
2. Apply Moisture
Avoid letting the skin on your feet get too dry. Rub in a thick, moisture rich lotion, but don’t put it between your toes—these dark, moist areas are great places for bacteria to build up and cause infection.
3. Protect your feet with well fitted shoes
Shoes should be snug but not too tight. There should be room to wiggle your toes in the shoe. If you have foot problems, or issues have your feet measured and fitted at a shoe store to ensure the shoes you choose will work well. Walk around a shoe store to try out the shoes. If you feel any areas that rub or feel too tight, choose another brand or different size. Try to avoid walking barefoot.
4. Show your feet to your health care provider at every office visit
The American Diabetes Association recommends a comprehensive foot exam annually for all people with diabetes. If you are prone to foot problems or have conditions such as hammer toes, overlapping toes and bunions it is advisable to see a Podiatrist yearly or as recommended by the treating physician.
5. Manage blood sugar
This is the best preventative medicine. Keeping blood sugar value in target can prevent damage to your nerves and preserve the sensation in your feet. This will help you be able to identify if/when you’ve had an injury and allow you to treat it faster.