Proper diabetic foot care can prevent and/or treat the disorders before they cause more serious complications. Follow the 10 diabetic foot care.
If you have diabetes and you don't control it, your blood sugar level may be too high. Uncontrolled diabetes, over time, can compromise nerves and/or blood vessels, causing common foot problems, such as cuts or corns, to become more serious if not taken care of.
However, prevention can prevent most of the problems arising from diabetes. The great difficulty is to make patients – and their families – understand that this condition requires care.
It is very common for patients and their families to know about diabetes, but do not take adequate prophylaxis, either because of cultural issues, because they think that nothing will ever happen to them, or because they do not want to accept the dietary and habit restrictions that the disease imposes.
However, the intention here is to show how prevention can be done, the risks can be avoided and controlled through 10 diabetic foot care.
How is the diabetic foot affected
Neuropathy: This is when your nerves are compromised by diabetes. Your legs and feet may ache for no apparent reason or, conversely, lose sensitivity to pain, cold, or heat. In that case, you can suffer a cut, for example, and not feel it, allowing the cut to become infected. The muscles in your feet can also get weaker as your nerves aren't working properly. In that case, your feet can misalign and unbalance.
Peripheral Vascular Disease: This is when your blood vessels are affected by the disease. Your vascularity is compromised, reducing blood flow to your feet. This reduction makes it difficult to heal a wound or cut, for example. And an unhealed wound can become a skin ulcer and even gangrene, risking amputation.
How is Diabetic Foot Diagnosed
Early diagnosis is important, therefore, it is necessary to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a diabetic foot, such as: dryness, nail deformities, changes in skin color, temperature, claw toes, cracks or lack of sensitivity. Even if the patient does not show any of these signs, the examination is necessary.
Physicians may order tests related to circulation, sensory assessment, arterial flow assessment, structural and integumentary assessment of the feet, identification of abnormal pressure points, assessment of mobility and others. In addition, professionals will always investigate the patient's history.
Therefore, you should always be aware of changes in your feet and if you notice changes, consult a doctor for the diagnosis of diabetic foot. Continue reading and learn about tips for diabetic foot care.
10 Diabetic Foot Care Tips
Proper diabetic foot care can prevent and/or treat the disorders before they cause more serious complications. Follow the 10 essential diabetic foot care:
1. Check your feet every day
You can have problems even if you don't feel pain. A daily exam can prevent further complications. Therefore, always check for sores, blisters, redness or swelling, calluses, ingrown nails, or any other abnormality.
Don't forget to look between your fingers. If you have trouble seeing your feet, ask someone to do it or use a mirror to help.
2. Sanitize your feet daily
Wash your feet every day with warm water and a mild soap. Test the water temperature with your elbow as, in the case of neuropathy, the sensitivity of your hands may also be compromised. Afterwards, dry your feet very well, especially between your toes.
3. Check your toenails
Trim them with suitable pliers, always with a straight cut, to avoid ingrown nails and other injuries. Never use other inappropriate tools such as scissors. Do not round or cut corners.
Afterwards, smooth the edges with sandpaper very lightly. Choose to cut them after washing and drying your feet. If you can't treat your nails yourself, have a podiatrist.
4. Keep your feet hydrated
If the skin on your feet is dry, keep it hydrated by applying moisturizing creams or lotions - recommended by your doctor or podiatrist. Always apply after washing your feet and avoid passing between your toes.
5. Wear shoes and socks at all times
Wear closed shoes. Avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops, and don't walk barefoot, even on the beach. You can get hurt without realizing it and the wound or cut can further aggravate. Even indoors, if you don't like to wear regular shoes, opt for cloth slippers.
Choose your shoes for comfort and not just for aesthetics. Always buy shoes that fit your size, with a sole that makes it easier for your feet to move while walking, and prefer canvas or leather shoes, which soften with use. If necessary, look for shoes in specialized stores, which offer more comfort to feet with deformities and calluses.
Also wear socks at all times. They protect from friction, preventing blisters and sores. And choose white cotton socks that fit your feet perfectly, they can't be snug or baggy.
6. Wound care
In relation to wounds and cures, it is necessary that they be evaluated by the podiatrist, who will indicate the type of care that should be performed.
Wound care, all of this can be summed up in observing, protecting and caring, which, in short, aims to prevent the appearance and growth of wounds, the consequences of which can be serious.
7. Protect your feet from the cold or heat
Also due to the surface temperature, always prefer closed shoes and socks, even at the beach or at home.
Wear sunscreen if you are barefoot.
Keep your feet away from heaters and do not wear a thermal bag over them. If your feet get cold at night, wear soft socks.
8. Always keep the blood flowing to your feet
Lift your feet when sitting, wiggle your toes, move your ankles several times a day.
Don't cross your legs for very long periods and don't wear tight socks.
9. Improve your overall blood flow
Do not smoke. Smoking worsens blood circulation problems.
And be active. Choose exercises that are easy for your feet, such as light walking (with the right shoes), dancing, yoga, stretching, swimming, or cycling.
10. Track your overall health
Finally, never forget that diabetes is a disease that demands care of your entire body to maintain your quality of life.
Observe the advice of health professionals regarding nutrition, exercise, medication, among others.
A multidisciplinary team, including specialties such as endocrinology, angiologist, vascular surgery, dentistry, podiatry, nutrition and physical monitoring, takes care of the total health of your body.
The frequency of visits to each specialist will be made under the guidance of each one of them.
In the case of diabetic foot, for example, the podiatrist can guide consultations bimonthly, monthly and, in some cases, even more than one per month.