Diabetes – Summer is almost here and it’s time to pull out the flip flops and swimsuits. A lot of people are planning to spend time at the beach or by the pool this summer. However, before you put on those flip flops and dip your toes in the sand, you need to think about foot safety, especially if you have diabetes.
As a person suffering from diabetes, you are at a higher risk of getting injuries or infections on your feet due to reduced blood flow and nerve damage. According to the ADA (American Diabetes Association), 1 in every 5 people living with diabetes seeks hospitalization for foot injuries and other problems. With these huge risks, any small injury is likely going to become large complications. For instance, if you have a blister or sore, it can easily become an infection. Even worse, you have a higher risk of losing a toe, foot or the entire leg.
If you are suffering from diabetes, you need to take advantage of the following foot care tips to make sure your toes are healthy during the hot summer months.
Here are some routines to consider.
Check your feet every day. Look for swelling, redness, cuts, blisters or soreness. If you don’t have a full view of the bottom of your feet, ask someone to help or use a mirror.
Wash your feet every day and make sure they are completely dry, especially in between the toes.
You need to walk frequently and become more active. Speak to your doctor about getting the right amount of exercise.
Make sure your toenails are trimmed by a professional unless you can see or reach them by yourself. If the latter is possible, you should trim them when necessary and avoid cutting them too short. You need to file the edges of your nails using a nail file or emery board.
When applying lotion to your feet, you should apply a thin coat and avoid applying in between your toes.
Also, you need to visit a foot care specialist or podiatrist once or twice every year to get a thorough exam.
You should never walk barefoot, even on the beach – orthotic sandals are the best choice for the beach.
You should always wear comfortable shoes that fit properly. Make sure that you protect your feet accordingly.
Ask your healthcare provider about insurance coverage for diabetic shoes. With proper fitting shoes, you can reduce the risk of complications.
Before wearing your shoes, you should always check inside. They should have a smooth lining without any objects inside.
Make sure the bottoms of your feet are not in extreme temperatures, hot or cold. Avoid putting your feet in hot water. You should always test the temperature of the water before putting your feet inside. Avoid using hot water bottles, electric blankets or heating pads since you may burn your feet without knowing it.
Don’t cross your legs. When sitting down, you need to wiggle your toes and move your feet around. You need to elevate your feet when sitting down if they often swell around the ankles.
Avoid smoking since it increases the risk of developing long-term complications.
Seek the help of a foot care specialist or podiatrist if you develop calluses, corns or ingrown nails as well as any other foot care issues.
Finally, you need to take care of your diabetes condition. Work together with your healthcare team to improve your blood glucose range and keep your A1c in the normal limits.