When we think of diabetes, we often think about high or low blood glucose levels, but do we really understand the impact diabetes can have on our body?
Poorly managed diabetes impacts our major body systems, it affects our eyes, kidneys, nerves and blood vessels. In the foot specifically, nerve damage can result in neuropathy, and damage to the blood vessels which can result in peripheral arterial disease. These two conditions can increase the chance of diabetic foot wounds and infections and with diabetic foot wounds and infections comes an increased chance of diabetes related lower-limb amputations.
In addition to keeping your blood sugar levels under control here are some daily tips to help take care of your feet and avoid diabetic foot wounds and infections:
1. Quit smoking – smoking decreases blood flow to your feet
2. Check your feet daily for cuts, blisters, swelling or anything unusual
* its hard to look under your feet so consider using a hand mirror
3. Always wear socks
- Make sure you wear clean, dry socks to keep your feet warm
- Change them daily
- Wear socks to bed instead of using a heat pack to keep feet warm
- NEVER WALK BAREFOOT
4. Choose the right socks – some socks can cut off circulation if they are to tight while others may buckle in your shoes if they are not tight enough.
5. Always check your shoes for rocks or anything that may have fallen into your shoes before putting them on.
6. Wash your feet daily
- Use lukewarm water to avoid burning your feet
- Be gentle
- Fully try your feet, especially between your feet
7. Moisturize your feet to avoid cracks – but make sure all lotion is absorbed as it could contribute to fungal infection.
8. Cut your toe nails straight across
- Do not cut them too short to avoid an ingrown nail
9. Have corns or calluses? Do not to try to file them down, ask your doctor
10. Lastly, get a foot examination done regularly!
If you currently have a diabetic foot wound and infection ask your doctor if you should see be referred to the Diabetic Foot and Limb Preservation Centre. The centre is staffed by Podiatric Surgeons who maintain close contact with physicians specializing in vascular surgery, infectious disease, plastic/reconstructive surgery, orthopaedic surgery, nephrology and endocrinology, along with wound care nurses and orthotic technicians providing expert care for diabetic patients.