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FOOT CARE FOR DIABETICS

Why and how to care for your feet

If you have diabetes, there are three reasons why you should pay attention to your feet.

1. First, diabetes can affect blood circulation. This means that some patients with diabetes suffer decreased blood circulation in their feet, which can also affect the skin.

2. Second, the nerves in the foot may also be affected by diabetes. Without full sensation, patients run the risk of damaging their feet from ill-fitting shoes or walking over a small object while barefoot. Loss of nerve control in the lower limb and foot also means that the ability to sweat is limited, and this can lead to dry feet.

3. Third, diabetes is associated with an increased risk of acquiring infection and can at the same time compromise the immune system’s ability to fight disease. This is especially the case when blood sugar levels are high. If left untreated, diabetics can possibly experience a foot infection that can spread and lead to serious complications.

Recommendations for care

It is important for patients with diabetes to remember that their feet need special care. Checking their feet should be a natural part of their daily routine. This can be achieved by making a habit out of examining their feet each morning after the shower or right before going to bed.

Look after your feet every day

A short footbath every day of only five minutes with a mild soap and lukewarm water between 30-35°C is recommended for diabetics. It is also important to check the water temperature each time with a thermometer, as it may be difficult for someone who is diabetic to judge the temperature with their foot as they may suffer from loss of sensation. If your foot is injured, you can forego the bath. When you do bathe, be sure to fully dry your feet, as the water hiding in the creases of your foot can cause fungal infections.

Keep your toenails groomed and smooth

Diabetics should regularly file their toenails as opposed to using nail clippers. The shape of the nail should furthermore mirror the cuticle’s natural curve. After trimming the nails, the cuticles should be gently pushed back with a wooden pedicure stick. A good time to do this is right after showering because that’s when the cuticles are soft.

Consult a doctor
If you have diabetes, it is important for you to attend your regular appointments. As soon as you notice any changes in the skin on your feet, you should speak to a healthcare professional. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or need advice on choosing the right foot cream, you should consult a doctor regarding which products are right for you in order to keep the skin intact, well moisturized and to prevent possible infection.