In the United States, roughly 26 million people have diabetes. Medical professionals speculate that up to 7 million Americans are undiagnosed, and another 80 million people are at risk of developing the condition at one point in their life.
More than 60% of lower-limb amputations come from people who have increased insulin sensitivity, and people with diabetes suffer more from foot problems than those who don’t live with the condition. This is because diabetes can cause damage to blood vessels in the legs and feet. This, in turn, affects blood circulation in the feet and legs, leading to swelling, increased infection risk, and many other complications.
How can diabetes patients protect their feet?
According to the American Diabetes Association, taking care of your feet is crucial if you have diabetes. Here are some important tips to keep in mind:
1. Inspect your feet daily
Check your feet every day for any cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or other abnormalities. If you notice any issues, consult your healthcare provider immediately.
2. Keep your feet clean and dry
Wash your feet daily with mild soap and lukewarm water. After washing, make sure to dry your feet thoroughly, especially between the toes, as moisture can lead to fungal infections.
3. Moisturize your feet
Apply a moisturizer to your feet to prevent dry skin and cracking. However, avoid applying moisturizer between the toes, as it can create a moist environment that promotes fungal growth.
4. Trim your toenails carefully
Cut your toenails straight across and file the edges. Avoid cutting them too short or rounding the corners, as this can lead to ingrown toenails.
5. Wear proper footwear
Choose shoes that fit well and provide adequate support. Avoid wearing tight or pointed shoes that can cause pressure points and discomfort. Additionally, always wear socks or stockings to prevent friction and blisters.
6. Avoid walking barefoot
Never walk barefoot, even indoors. Always wear shoes or slippers to protect your feet from injuries and infections.
7. Control your blood sugar levels
Keeping your blood sugar levels within the target range can help prevent or delay diabetes-related complications, including foot problems.
Taking care of your feet is essential if you have diabetes. By following these simple tips and maintaining good foot hygiene, you can reduce the risk of foot complications and improve your overall quality of life.