Diabetes &The Foot Part 2: Protecting Your Feet

The following can be done to protect the feet:

Wear shoes that fit well and protect the feet. Athletic or walking shoes are good for daily wear. They support the feet and allow them to “breathe”

Avoid vinyl or plastic shoes, because they don’t stretch or “breathe”

Remember to use sunscreen on the top of your feet if outside

Keep your feet away from radiators and open fires

Do not use hot water bottles on feet

Keep blood flowing to the feet by doing the following:

Keep feet up when sitting

Perform foot exercises

Wiggle toes for 5 minutes, 2 or 3 times a day

Move ankles up and down and in and out

Minimize crossing the legs

Don’t wear tight socks, elastic or rubber bands, or garters around your legs

Don’t smoke as smoking reduces blood flow to the feet

Control blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol by eating healthy and exercising regularly

What are considered “appropriate shoes?”

Shoes that are not pointed, or do not have high heels as these put too much pressure on the toes.

Shoes that are deep and wide enough to prevent rubbing.

Shoes that protect your feet from hot and cold. In the winter, lined boots and socks are great for keeping your feet warm at night

 

To book an appointment to discuss any of the symptoms caused by tight shoes, contact us today!

 

Diabetes And The Foot: Part 1

Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is a systemic disease in which blood glucose accumulates in the bloodstream and cannot get into the cells. There are 2 forms of diabetes; Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, a chemical called insulin which regulates blood glucose’s entry into the cells is not produced. Insulin is normally produced by an organ in our body called the pancreas. When the pancreas does not function well, this chemical (insulin) is not produced and blood cannot get into the cells. Therefore, glucose stays in the blood and also spills over into the urine. Type 1 DM is usually genetic.

In Type 2 diabetes, although insulin may be normally produced by the pancreas, the cells remain insensitive to insulin. Therefore, blood glucose cannot get into cells and accumulates in the bloodstream. Type 2 DM is therefore not dependent on insulin production and could be treated with oral medications or a combination of oral medications & insulin.

The effects of longstanding uncontrolled blood glucose can affect vision, kidneys, blood circulation and leave the arms and the legs void of sensation. Specifically as it relates to the foot, diabetes manifests in the following ways:

-Loss of feeling in the feet: Sensory Peripheral Neuropathy
-Dry, cracked heels and skin which provides the chance for a wound to occur, forming an entry portal for bacteria into the body: Autonomic Neuropathy
-Clawing of the toes, resulting in high pressure areas in the toes as it rubs against shoes. Callus at the bottom of the feet can also result as the toes push down on foot bones (metatarsals): Motor Neuropathy
– Blood circulatory problems can also ensue. This problem can cause delayed wound healing in the event that a callus should break down into a wound

So how can individuals with Diabetes take care of the feet?

There are ways in which individuals with Diabetes can take care of their feet to avoid some of these complications as outlined below:

• Make checking feet part of your everyday routine. When checking feet, look out for cuts, sores, red spots, swelling, and infected toenails
• Wash feet every day by using warm (not hot) water. However, do not soak feet because skin will get dry
• Dry feet well. Be sure to dry between the toes
• Keep the skin soft and smooth
• Rub a thin coat of skin lotion or cream. However, do not put lotion or cream between the toes
• Smooth corns and calluses gently
• Check with your foot doctor before using a pumice stone. If you have to use a pumice stone, use it directly after bathing or showering when the skin is soft
• Do not cut corns and calluses
• Do not use razor blades, corn plasters, or liquid corn and callus removers – they can damage the skin
• Trim Toenails regularly with clippers after bathing/showering. Trim the nails straight across and smooth with an emery board or nail file. Do not cut into the corners of the toenail. If toenails are thick or yellowed, or nails curve and grow into the skin, have a foot doctor trim nails instead
• Protect the feet by wearing socks and shoes at all times. Make sure your socks are clean, lightly padded and fit well. Socks that have no seams are best. For shoes, check that there is nothing in the inside of the shoe that could cause damage before putting them on. In addition, check that the lining of the shoe is smooth

If properly done, these steps can help reduce the chances of an ulcer occurring in an individual with Diabetes Mellitus. For further consultation on DM foot, contact us

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