Your diabetes affects the nerves in your feet, even if you have the disease under control. Your doctor will frequently do peripheral nerve tests to determine how much sensation you have in your feet. You may lose enough sensation in your feet that you're unaware of when you have a problem, such as a blister or open wound. Here are some ways to keep your feet healthy in spite of what the diabetes does to your sense of feeling and the circulation in your feet.
1. Begin the habit of daily foot inspections.
The loss of feeling in your feet means you'll need to rely on sight to uncover any problems. Every day, look at both of your feet, top and bottom. Place a mirror on the floor to look at the soles of your feet, if necessary. Check between the toes and back of the heel. A problem may have started soon after your previous day's inspection, so don't skip a day.
2. Check the water temperature before getting into the tub.
You may have difficulty judging the water temperature in your bathtub with your feet. Before getting into the tub, check the temperature with a thermometer, or use your elbow. If the water is too hot, you could burn both feet before you realize it.
3. Keep toenails trimmed.
Even if you need help from someone to trim your toenails, take care of that every day, too. Ingrown toenails can become infected and you wouldn't feel it. The ingrown nail can irritate your foot for days before you see the redness and swelling associated with an infection. A foot infection is something you should dread, since diabetes makes such problems harder to heal. For help with an ingrown toenail, contact a company like Lincoln Park Podiatry.
4. Watch for any friction issues caused by shoes and socks.
If you have poorly-fitted socks that bunch up and rub against your feet, you could develop blisters and friction abrasions without knowing it. Socks should be cotton to help keep your feet dry. Special diabetic socks have loose elastic in the tops to prevent cutting off the circulation to your feet. Shoes should have extra room in the toe area to prevent friction against the tops of the toes or sides of the feet. Watch for shoes rubbing against the heel and back of the foot.
5. Always walk with something on your feet.
Just walking from the living room to the kitchen in your bare feet can put you at risk of stepping on something and injuring your foot without knowing it. Have slippers handy for those short walks across the house. Never go outside without something on your feet. Even if you kick off your shoes while sitting in the park on a sunny day, check your feet thoroughly before putting your shoes back on.
6. Take care of any issues you find on your feet immediately.
Small blisters or abrasions from new shoes rubbing on your feet can become bigger problems, if not addressed quickly. Because of the reduced feeling and blood supply in your feet, a sore can easily become an open, draining wound. The healing of such injuries can take a long time, and it might keep you off of your feet for days while the wounds heal.
Check your feet often for sores or abrasions, keep your toenails trimmed to prevent ingrown toenails and treat any injuries without delay. Don't let your diabetes affect your feet and your ability to enjoy being active and up on your feet.