Diabetic Foot Care
Caring for Your Feet
There are many things you can do to keep your feet healthy.
• Take care of your diabetes. Work with your health care team to keep your blood glucose in your target range.
• Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet for red spots, cuts, swelling, and blisters. If you cannot see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone for help.
• Be more active. Plan your physical activity program with your health team.
• Wash your feet every day. Dry them carefully, especially between the toes.
• Keep your skin soft and smooth. Rub a thin coat of skin lotion over the tops and bottoms of your feet, but not between your toes.
• Wear shoes and socks at all times. Never walk barefoot. Wear comfortable shoes that fit well and protect your feet. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure the lining is smooth and there are no objects inside.
• Protect your feet from hot and cold. Wear shoes at the beach or on hot pavement. Don't put your feet into hot water. Test water before putting your feet in it just as you would before bathing a baby. Never use hot water bottles, heating pads, or electric blankets. You can burn your feet without realizing it.
• Keep the blood flowing to your feet. Put your feet up when sitting. Wiggle your toes and move your ankles up and down for 5 minutes, two (2) or three (3) times a day. Don't cross your legs for long periods of time. Don't smoke.
• Get started now. Begin taking good care of your feet today. Set a time every day to check your feet.
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder resulting from the body’s inability to produce insulin (a hormone secreted by the pancreas that is essential for proper blood sugar utilization). Diabetes can not convert blood sugar into a form that can be used by the cells, resulting in abnormally high blood sugar levels, circulatory problems and nerve damage.
Diabetes can not be cured but can be treated and managed with proper medical care, dietary control and regular exercise. There are approximately 14 million diabetics in the United States. Half of whom are unaware that they have the disease.
Diabetes is the 4th leading cause of amputation of the lower leg and foot. Technology, research and diligence by patients can improve this situation.
Diabetes often leads to peripheral neuropathy, a condition in which the nerves function deteriorates in the bodies extremities. This damage leads to a gradual loss of feeling in the hands, arms, legs and feet. The patient may experience numbness, weakness, and tingling in the extremities, shooting pain or a burning sensation.
An inability to sense pain in affected areas is the most problematic because pain enables the patient to know when something is wrong. Without pain patients often do not seek timely treatment for cuts, bruises, burns or blisters. Due to this delay in treatment they often heal poorly because of the circulatory problems caused by diabetes. Because of this a minor skin problems of the feet can worsen and become infected.
Another common foot condition that can occur with diabetes is Charcot foot.
Patients with diabetes should monitor blood glucose levels, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly. They should see a physician and podiatrist on a regular basis to be tested and treated for any abnormalities that develop. Diabetics must inspect their feet carefully using their hands to feel for hard or dry skin and mirror to check the bottoms of the feet for redness or cracking. They should have custom molded orthotics and/or shoes made. These precautions can help the feet from becoming ulcerated or infected.
Wounds and injuries are difficult to heal when diabetes is uncontrolled. This is especially true of wounds of the feet, not only because of neuropathy often renders the patient unaware but because the feet carry the body’s weight. The feet are confined in shoes causing friction, rubbing and tearing of the skin in a hot, moist environment conducive to infection.
Vitamins for Neuropathy
____ Inositol 500mg 1 tab three (3) times a day
____ Vitamin D 2000mg per day
____ Alipoic Acid 600mg two (2) times a day
____ Metanx 1 capsule two (2) times a day