How can diabetes hurt my feet?
People with diabetes are at risk for foot infections. Too much sugar in the blood for a long time can cause nerve damage which reduces feeling, especially in your feet. You may not feel pain, or hot or cold. You might hurt your foot and not even know it. If you have less feeling in your feet, you may walk a little bit different which can cause calluses that sometimes get infected. Also, diabetes can cause less blood to flow to your legs and feet; this might make it hard for a sore on your foot to get better.
What happens if I get a sore on my foot?
If the sore gets infected and you do not get antibiotics, it could continue to get worse, possibly never healing. Sometimes the sore gets gangrene. If this happens, the sore may get black and smell bad. To keep gangrene from getting worse, the doctor may need to cut off the toes or foot.
How should I take care of my feet?
Decrease the possibility of getting sores on your feet by doing the following:
- Check your feet every day. Look for sores, cuts, blisters, or redness, especially in between the toes. If you cannot see your feet, use a mirror to check them or have a family member or friend check them for you.
- Keep your feet clean and dry. Wash them with WARM (not hot) water every day. Remember, you may not know the water is too hot if you put just your feet in it. To check the water temperature, dip your elbow in the water.
- Make sure your toenails are cut. Cut them after a bath when they are soft. Cut them in the shape of your toes and not too short.
- Gently file corns and calluses after your bath or shower. Use a pumice stone or an emery board.
- If you don’t have good feeling in your feet, go to a foot doctor to get your toenails cut. Also, the foot doctor will file corns or calluses.
- Don’t let your feet get too dry or cracked. If they are too dry, rub moisturizer on them after you get out of the shower or bath.
- Go to your foot doctor regularly. Get a foot exam at least once a year.
- Do not walk barefoot. Always wear shoes or slippers.
- Do not wear your shoes without socks. Socks will keep your feet dry and help protect them from sores or cuts. Wearing white socks might make it easier to notice blood or drainage from your feet.
- Make sure your shoes fit well so you don’t get blisters or sores.
- If you see any changes in your feet, tell your prescriber right away.
What else can I do so I don’t get a foot infection?
Reduce your risk of foot infection by doing the following:
- Keep your blood sugar under control. Too much sugar in the blood may feed the germs that cause a foot infection.
- Stop smoking. Smoking can decrease the blood flow to your legs and feet.
Content taken from Pharmacist’s Letter.