How to take good care of the diabetic foot?

As we’ve already mentioned, it’s important to focus on maintaining good diabetes oversight because, as with uncontrolled diabetes, foot complications are among the chronic complications of diabetes.

It’s important to focus on providing proper foot care, which entails washing your feet every day with lukewarm water and soap, carefully drying them, and then applying cream. Be very cautious when cutting your nails, and if at all possible, use a rasp. Select natural-fiber socks, making sure they don’t restrict the lower leg. Check the inside of your shoes before putting them on.

Ideal care consists of:

• Consistent self- and foot checks, as well as medical examinations when in doubt.

• Determining whether there is a chance that foot issues could arise.

• Diabetes patients’ self-control education.

• Wearing appropriate footwear that is suitable for walking and is comfortable.

• Timely treatment of all foot issues to prevent serious complications.

• If you smoke, give it up because it makes your circulation even worse.

• Call your doctor right away if you see a wound on your feet because prompt treatment yields the best results.

Recognizing the warning signs is crucial in preventive treatment.

• The appearance of pressure (calluses) on the feet

• Swelling of the foot or joint

• Very cold legs or feet

• Changes in the color of the feet

• Pain in the legs while resting or walking

• Open wounds, regardless of how small they are

• Wounds that do not heal

• Ingrown nails

• Lack of hair on the feet

What should you pay special attention to?

 What needs your undivided attention?

A possible weaker circulation is indicated by thin skin on the feet or bluish skin color, along with a weak or non-palpable pulse of the arteries in the feet and difficulty walking (patients must stop walking due to pain in the lower legs).

The following “strange sensations” in the legs can be brought on by nerve damage: pain (especially when at rest), cramps (also especially when at rest, especially at night), burning, burning, tingling, numbness in the legs, fatigue, and a “wooden” sensation in the legs.

It is particularly risky if the foot completely loses its sensitivity to pressure and pain (this can happen gradually, without any prior symptoms), as the patient won’t be able to feel, for instance, that his shoes are too small, that there is a stone in them, or that he tripped carelessly while walking barefoot and the foreign object may still be in his foot.

Diabetes patients frequently experience cold feet. Use of hot water heaters with boiling water, electric heaters, radiators, hot tiles, or, for example, placing your feet in a hot oven are extremely risky due to the disorders. Due to the altered perception of heat and cold and the disappearance of pain, burns of varying degrees can develop, and in the most severe cases, the affected leg may need to be amputated. Warm woollen socks are advised to keep the feet warm (again, make sure they are not too tight so as not to hinder circulation).

Why should someone with diabetes be concerned about their feet?

Diabetes patients are 25 times more likely to lose a limb (amputation).

  • People with diabetes account for up to 70% of all leg amputations worldwide.
  • A leg is amputated due to diabetes somewhere in the world every 30 seconds.
  • Up to 85% of all amputations caused by diabetes are thought to be preventable.
  • Up to 85% of lower extremity amputations caused by diabetes are preceded by foot ulcers, and many of these can be avoided with proper medical care and self-examination instruction.
  • In developed nations, one in six diabetics develops an ulcer during their lifetime, and foot issues can consume up to 15% of total healthcare spending.

Suitable footwear

Shoes that are appropriate for the activity should be worn.

Sports sneakers provide support and ventilation for the feet while engaging in physical activity.

The following recommendations are for diabetics to modify their footwear in accordance with their current state of health.

• Before putting on the shoes, it is important to check that they are free of any surprises.

• Wearing footwear appropriate for the season to protect feet from heat or cold. Even on hot pavement or at the beach, wear shoes. It is not advised to place heated pads, hot water bottles, or hot water bottles on your feet during the winter. Even at night, wear socks if your feet are cold.

• Because diabetics frequently have decreased sensation to the point where they are unable to tell if their socks are wrinkled, it is imperative that they wear socks that are the proper size for their feet and are made of natural materials. Tight socks limit blood flow and may irritate skin.

How can you help yourself?

Avoiding wearing shoes that are too tight and squeeze your toes is one of the most crucial things you can do to help yourself. Ingrown toenails, fungal infections, wet feet, and skin conditions like corns and calluses can all be a result of them. Foot deformities and wounds can be brought on by improper footwear. If you protect your feet with the right footwear that fits you right away and doesn’t need to be stepped on, you can prevent a lot of foot issues. Put on the right shoes for the activity. Only occasionally and for a brief period should formal shoes be worn. A crucial component of foot care is careful toenail trimming. Your nails won’t regrow or get infected if you cut them cleanly.

Like hands, feet should also be washed. It’s best to take a shower or a bath but avoid soaking your feet. The natural moisture of the skin is harmed by soaking, which leads to cracking. Using moisturizing creams will keep your skin smooth and soft. To avoid pressure and the development of hard, thickened skin, wear the proper footwear. Don’t ever go barefoot. Apply foot powder with absorbent properties to sweaty feet.

Physical activity is healthy for you whether you have diabetes or not. It improves circulation, strengthens bones, muscles, and the heart and helps control blood sugar and body weight. Your health will improve with just 30 minutes of exercise each day. Activity improves the efficiency of injected insulin in type 1 diabetes, and it lessens insulin resistance in type 2.

Diabetes does not restrict the kinds of exercises one can do. It is best to begin gradually with a lower level of activity, but over time, possibilities suggest that the level of activity can be increased. Activities that are adaptable, suitable for everyone, and good for you and your body include walking, housework, yard work, and swimming.

However, if you exercise for more than an hour, it’s crucial to keep an eye on your blood glucose levels. If your blood glucose level is high before exercise and it doesn’t drop but instead rises, you probably don’t have enough insulin to allow your muscles to metabolize glucose. Do not exercise until your blood glucose level has dropped if you have type 1 diabetes and it is higher than 15 millimoles per liter.

S.J.
27.09.2022.