A person with diabetes is at a greater risk of incurring serious health complications in their external organs and limbs. Diabetes can also cause damages to the nerves that are connected to our legs and feet. For this reason, people with diabetes are strongly advised to take care of their feet.
Amputation of the lower limbs is one of the most dreaded complications caused by diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, there were about 82,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations done in diabetics in 2002. In a related survey, it has been found that of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations performed, 60% are done in people with diabetes. However, the ADA also assures that the risk of amputations can be reduced by 45% to 85% through comprehensive foot care programs.
Keeping your feet clean and free from any possible sources of infection is a crucial step. Protect your feet from sores, bruises, scratches or wounds which can lead to infection. Some diabetics may feel numbness in their legs and feet, a burning sensation or a tingling pain on their feet so they may not be able to know right away that there is a sore or a wound on their feet. Thus, those with diabetes are advised to examine their feet every day for any sign of sores or bruises. Below are more tips on how to protect your feet from diabetes complications.
1. Use a mirror. When inspecting your feet use a mirror so you can thoroughly see the soles of your feet. Don’t forget to check in between your toes, toe nails and ankles for blisters, sores, scratches, swelling, or discoloration. Also, inspect your feet during the day or under a bright light to easily spot any changes.
2. See your doctor. If you see anything unusual on your feet, see your doctor right away. This way, the necessary treatment can be administered to prevent infection.
3. Moisturize dry skin. When the skin is dry or scaly, it becomes more prone to cuts and fungal infections. After washing or bathing, use a clean towel to thoroughly dry your feet, especially in between your toes. Next, apply lotion or petroleum jelly to moisturize your skin.
4. Always wear the appropriate footwear. Walking barefoot or without any protection exposes your feet to dirt and germs. You may also accidentally step on sharp objects which can cause cuts or bruise on the soles of your feet. Thus, it is best to wear shoes or slippers at all times.
5. Wear comfortable shoes. When choosing shoes, make sure that they are a perfect fit. Avoid wearing shoes that are too tight as this can damage your toes and ankles. Make sure that there is enough room for your feet to move inside the shoes. Also, buy shoes that provide support to your feet.