Thirty-four million Americans have diabetes. The disease will likely be a lifelong struggle for most of these people. While they may have to deal with it for the rest of their lives, they must remember that managing diabetes (and monitoring their foot health) is possible and encouraged.
Read on to learn what your patients need to know in order to protect their diabetic feet.
Inspect Feet Daily
Your patients need to remember to check their feet every day for any changes that might occur. It’s important to monitor sores on the feet and look for signs of infection. Infections in diabetic people are complicated and prevention is key to staying healthy.
Patients need to look out for red areas, cracked skin or calluses, lesions, or any other changes occurring on the feet, especially between the toes.
Keep Feet Clean and Dry
Your patients need to wash their feet to keep them free of threads and fabrics that can cause friction or irritation. They shouldn’t soak their feet regularly because it can increase dryness.
Once clean, they need to dry their feet, especially between the toes. Diabetic feet are breeding grounds for fungus and bacteria when they aren’t kept dry.
Moisturizing is another task that needs to occur every night giving the feet plenty of time to soak up the cream and smooth out the skin.
Don’t Cut Your Own Toenails
Another common foot-related condition among diabetic patients is they may have thickened toenails, which can be difficult to cut. As a podiatrist, you are better equipped to handle that. By recommending that your patients come to you to get their toenails cut, you will be able to catch potential problems before they become an issue (like ingrown toenails!).
Remind them to leave callus removal to the professionals as well. Removing them with a sharp object can lead to infection while using OTC removers can burn the skin because they are usually made with some type of acid.
Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels
High glucose can lead to neuropathy which can lead to loss of feeling in the feet. This occurs in approximately 70% of all diabetics. This loss of feeling is dangerous as it can lead to injury, infections, and even amputation.
Your patients can maintain a healthier blood glucose streak by eating well-balanced diets and monitoring blood sugar regularly.
Never Go Barefoot
Loss of feeling in the feet makes it a lot easier to suffer from an injury that causes damage to your patient’s feet. By wearing orthotic slippers or shoes with support, they reduce the chance of getting cuts, bruises, or broken bones when moving around their home. These problems might go undetected by a diabetic due to their awareness becoming hindered by neuropathy or loss of feeling in their feet.
Wear the Right Socks and Shoes
Wearing the right socks and shoes is essential for diabetics, especially those dealing with numbness.
There are certain types of shoes for diabetic feet that are made to prevent friction and irritation. They are generally soft, padded, and seamless. These shoes are deep enough for diabetic inserts and orthotics to be placed inside the shoe for maximum comfort.
Check our website for a list of diabetic shoes we have in stock.
The ideal socks for diabetics are going to be made out of fabric that is moisture-wicking such as natural wool or bamboo. They are going to fit snugly on the feet and legs without adding extra pressure on the skin. Ideally, you should have your patients look for socks with copper-infused yarn as well as moisture-wicking properties for added protection and anti-fungal benefits. Check out our line of Diabetic Copper Cloud Socks on our website.
Caring for Diabetic Feet
Caring for diabetic feet isn’t easy, but it will make a world of difference in a diabetic’s overall health and well-being. It’s important that, as their medical clinician, you are relaying essential information to your patients to help them maintain healthy feet.
Contact SafeStep today for more information on our patient evaluation processes and how our products promote diabetic foot care.