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Diabetes & Your Feet

Diabetes & Your Feet

Diabetes is a disease that can develop from a lack of insulin production in the body or due to the inability of the body’s insulin to perform its normal everyday functions. Insulin is a substance produced by the pancreas gland that helps process the food we ear and turn it into energy.

Diabetic foot conditions develop from a combination of causes including poor circulation and neuropathy (insensitivity to pain, heat and cold).

Neuropathy can result in the small cuts, scraps and bruising going unnoticed leading to complications if left untreated. Additionally, healing may occur at a slower rate due to poor blood supply to the legs and feet. Hence it is very important for diabetics to take the necessary precautions to prevent foot related injuries. 

How do I minimise foot problems?

The main way is to keep your blood sugar level as close to normal as possible as well as following your doctor’s advice on diet, exercise and medicine. Here are some other ways to protect your feet:

 • Wash your feet every day with lukewarm (not hot) water and mild soap. 
• Dry your feet well, especially between the toes. Use a soft towel and pat gently; don't rub. 
• Keep the skin of your feet smooth by applying a cream or lanolin lotion, especially on the heels. If the skin is cracked, talk to your doctor about how to treat it. 
• Keep your feet dry by dusting them with nonmedicated powder before putting on shoes, socks or stockings. 

• Check your feet every day. You may need a mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet. Call your doctor at the very first sign of redness, swelling, pain that doesn't go away, or numbness or tingling in any part of your foot. 
• Don't treat calluses, corns or bunions without talking to your doctor first. 
• Cut toenails straight across to avoid ingrown toenails. It might help to soak your toenails in warm water to soften them before you cut them. 
• Don't let your feet get too hot or too cold. 
• Don't go barefoot.

Tips on selecting shoes and footwear 

• Avoid sandals or other open-toed shoes
• Avoid high-heeled shoes and shoes with pointed toes
• Wear well padded socks that are ½ inch longer than your longest toe. 
• Avoid stretch socks, nylon socks or socks with inside seams
• Don’t wear uncomfortable or tight shoes that rub or cut into your feet.
• Shop for new shoes at the end of the day when your feet are a little swollen. If shoes are comfortable when your feet are swollen, they'll probably be comfortable all day. 
• Break in new shoes slowly by wearing them for no more than an hour a day for several days. 
• Change socks and shoes every day. Have at least 2 pairs of shoes so you can switch pairs every other day. 
• Look inside your shoes every day for things like gravel or torn linings. These things could rub against your feet and cause blisters or sores.

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