Health Tips for Seniors

Archive for March, 2014

Care for Diabetic Feet

If you have diabetes, then you are at an increased risk of a number of different foot conditions. In fact, even problems that would typically be considered to be quite ordinary and minor can develop into serious conditions. This type of foot problem most often occurs as a result to damage to the nerves in the feet—also known as neuropathy—which can reduce the feeling that you have in your feet so that you may not be aware of issues that are developing because you don’t feel them until they have become more severe. Poor blood flow and changes in foot and toe shape can also lead to various types of conditions.

Because of the higher risk of foot problems among diabetics, there is also an increased instance of amputations of toes and parts of the feet. Proper management of the diabetes and regular foot care are vital to preventing foot sores that can be challenging to treat and that could worsen to the point that amputation is the only option. Making every effort to control diabetes is important because this can help to reduce the complications that can lead to foot problems in the first place, particularly in nerve damage and poor blood circulation.

Carefully managing the diabetes and caring for feet are the best lines of defense against the development of foot ulcers. Preventing foot ulcers is the best way to stop their damage as once they do occur, they must be treated promptly and persistently. If an ulcer does not heal, then it can lead to severe tissue damage and could require that bone be surgically removed (amputated) in the form of the loss of a toe, part of the foot, the whole foot, or even part of the leg.

To prevent this from happening, manage your diabetes, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, monitor blood sugar levels, and keep to a prescribed medication regimen. When it comes to caring for feet, stick to the following:

(*) Check the feet every day for cuts, sores, blisters, cracks, redness, swelling, and tenderness. Use a hand mirror to see the bottoms of your feet if you have problems reaching. Either hold the mirror or place it on the floor. You could also ask someone else to help you. Furthermore, women’s shoes tend to be narrower, as women typically have a narrower forefoot and heel, as well as a lower instep.

(*) Keep your feet clean by washing them every day or more often if they get dirty or very sweaty. Use lukewarm water and a gentle cleanser. Rinse them well and dry them gently but thoroughly. Take extra care between the toes. If you have calluses, use a pumice stone and gently rub the skin in those areas on a regular basis. Over time, this will wear them down and prevent them from returning. Sprinkle a little bit of talcum powder, baby powder, or cornstarch between your toes to keep moisture levels down in that area. Keep the skin soft by applying a moisturizing cream rich in emollients to both the tops and bottoms of your feet so that the skin will remain soft.

(*) Don’t try to remove problems yourself. If you have calluses, bunions, warts, or corns then head to your doctor if you want them removed. Don’t use a file, scissors, knife, or nail clippers on your feet to try to remove a problem. Don’t use chemical wart removers. Any of these can lead to infections that could be very difficult to control.

(*) Quit smoking. Smoking harms the amount of oxygen in the blood and reduces circulation. This can slow healing and lead to more severe wounds.

(*) Prevent injury. Wear properly padded socks, such as Thorlos clinically tested padded diabetic socks with HXS Padds® Support to prevent moisture buildup, blisters, and many other painful problems in the feet. This will help to stop wounds before they occur and will keep the feet comfortable. It will also help to avoid soreness in your feet when you are active so that you will be able to keep up your exercises longer.

With these efforts, among others, you will be better able to keep healthy feet and greatly decrease the risk of infection, ulcers, and most importantly, amputation.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored blog post