If you have diabetes, it is essential that you look at your feet every day and conduct a brief examination. At least this is because minor problems like scratches can become infections. Infections can then lead to an infection of the whole foot and that could lead to hospital admission. If that doesn't resolve very quickly, that can actually result in amputation. If you cannot check your own feet and it may not be possible because you simply cannot see the bottom of the foot for example, then you could use a mirror. Just place it on the floor and raise your foot over it in order to see the bottom of your feet
Or you could ask a member of your family maybe to look at the bottom of your foot on a regular basis. When washing your feet which is something you should be doing daily, make sure you “look around” particularly in between the toes to look for anything that appears abnormal
You should also be touching your feet with your fingers, in particular, your toes to make sure you have feeling in your toes and feet. Just using your index finger, that's all you need to do and you should easily be able to feel light touch if you cannot, that can indicate early nerve damage and it's very important that you pick that up then report that to your doctor or your nurse. This is known as diabetic neuropathy and the problem with that is if you cannot feel the ground. For example, you could step on a piece of broken glass and not even feel it. A couple of days later you could end up with a severe foot infection.
You should also be looking for cracks in the skin or red areas, maybe the shoes have rubbed a little bit. The cracks in the heel can be quite difficult and potentially dangerous, and when you use medication on them, you need to be careful you're using things that are good for people with diabetes. Some of them can be quite strong and maybe do more harm than good, so check before you put foot lotion on, but remember to use it when you need it in relation to looking after your own feet. Most people do not put enough lotion on, so err on the side of using too much as opposed to not enough.
Next, you must wear comfortable shoes, if shoes are tight, they're, very likely, to create excess pressure which can lead to calluses which may hurt, or even lead to sores which can then become infected. So shoes must be of a good quality so that the weight of the body is rooted evenly around the foot and there is no significant pressure around a particular small part of the foot. Be careful that there is no rough seams on the inside of the shoe, as that too can lead to points of irritation on your feet. It is also important to have good quality socks, because if your socks have seams that are too prominent, they can bite into the skin and that can result in damage to the skin.
The other purpose of shoes is to protect your feet from the ground you walk on. Never go bare foot outside at the risk of stepping on a sharp object. So, for example, when you go to the beach, it's very important that you don't walk barefooted, and that is for several reasons.
First of all, you cannot risk damage from the sand and stones and shell and other things that are on the beach, but also you may even get heat damage if the sand is too hot, which can cause a burn on your foot.
One other problem that occurs in diabetes is the loss of fat on the bottom of the feet. This can create discomfort walking on hard surfaces like tile or wood floors. Wearing shoes in the house can make you much more comfortable.
Personal hygiene of your feet is another area that needs to be addressed. Nails should be kept short so they do not dig into the toe, or even adjacent toes. Diabetics, particularly those with elevated blood sugars and poor circulation, should seek the care of a podiatrist to take care of their nails. Over the years I have seen countless patients who ended up with severe foot infections from nothing more then trying to cut their own nails or trim a corn or callus on their own.
Looking for changes in skin color, either very red, or very pale may be a sign of poor circulation and that needs to be evaluated by a doctor. Diabetics with high blood sugars, poor circulation and loss of sensation are the perfect storm for foot infections and possible amputation.
The takeaway from this is that any thing that does not look right on the foot of a diabetic should be brought to the attention of a podiatrist or other healthcare professional.
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