Everyone has foot issues now and then but if you are a diabetic even a common foot issue can lead to an infection or other serious complications. In some cases amputation is required. Winter can bring additional risks for the diabetic because the cold weather can increase the lack of sensation in the lower extremities caused by neuropathy. This can result in increased falls due to unsteadiness, increased injuries and the inability to detect foot sores and blisters. Because of the nerve disease and poor circulation in their extremities, diabetics need to not rely on their senses but rather have a rigorous foot care routine especially during the Winter months.
Here are some tips to keep your feet healthy during the Winter months if you are a diabetic:
Maintain Dry Feet
When it comes to your feet, rain, snow and slushy weather have something in common: they cause dampness. Moisture that collects between your toes and on your feet and toes can form bacteria, which can lead to an infection. Be sure to wear shoes that are water-proof and keep feet toasty with the diabetic thermal socks which keep your feet warm while keeping moisture away.
Wear the Proper Fitting Shoes For the Weather
Diabetics should wear shoes that are well-fitted, preferably with a wide toe box. Also, look for shoes that are lined with warm material and have a water-proof exterior. Keep in mind how much additional space you need to account for thicker socks.
Moisturize your Feet Liberally Daily
To keep skin hydrated and prevent cracking, use a moisturizer daily. However, don’t moisturize in between the toes as this could lead to a fungal infection. Diabetics have poor circulation which decreases the moisturizing glands in patients leading to severe dryness in the feet.
Avoid Direct Heat to Your Feet.
To minimize dryness and the risk of burning their feet, diabetics should not apply any heat to their feet. It may seem like a cozy thing to do on a cold Winter day but warming your feet by the fire can lead to dire consequences. With the lowered sensitivity of diabetic feet, the chance of burning them is quite high. Diabetic people may not feel that their feet are burning and can experience second and third degree burns. Diabetics should not apply heat in a car, place their feet by a fire, dip into hot water foot baths and avoid heading devices such as electric blankets, heated shoe inserts and heating pads.
Get Regular Foot Exams From a Pedorthist
With proper foot care and regular professional exams, patients with diabetes can lessen their chances of incurring a foot issue. With regular visits, a Pedorthist can notice changes in their patients’ feet and provide the appropriate treatment.
If you are a diabetic contact us for an appointment and we can help you create a hygiene plan and select the right shoes for you.