According to the American Diabetes Association, 21.9 million Americans are reportedly living with diabetes with another 86 million having pre-diabetes. Individuals who suffer with this condition will find that normalizing glucose levels is not the only hurdle. Patients may also find that their feet become numb or tingling and that cuts become slow to heal. If you are living with diabetes, you'll need to be aware of the do's and dont's of diabetic foot care in order to keep your feet as healthy as possible.
Do Visit Your Podiatrist
Set up a yearly exam with your podiatrist, who will better be able to keep an eye out for diabetic foot issues than your general physician. Should you experience any issues with your feet, your podiatrist will recommend more frequent check-ups. These checkups are essential, as the American Podiatric Medical Association points out that utilizing a podiatrist decreases one's risk of having a lower limb amputation by 85 percent and lessens their risk of being hospitalized by 24 percent.
Don't Wear Tight Shoes
Choosing your shoes is also extremely important when it comes to diabetic foot care. Tight shoes will rub up against your feet, which can cause calluses and blisters to form. Women should avoid high-heeled shoes that put pressure on the ball of your foot and that all diabetic patients should refrain from any open-toed shoe, which includes sandals and flip-flops. This is because the exposed skin is more prone to becoming injured. If you can't find a comfortable shoe, your insurance company may pay for a pair of special diabetic shoes.
Do Wear Diabetic Socks
There are several reason's you'll want to purchase a few pairs of diabetic socks. These specially designed socks work to increase the circulation in your feet, as well as keep them dry. When feet are allowed to remain moist, they are more prone to skin infections, and diabetes patients have a harder time healing from those infections. These special socks are also void of seams that can cause irritation and feature extra padding to protect the feet from injury.
Don't Go Anywhere Near Hot Water
Diabetics often suffer numbness in their feet. As a result, the patient may not realize that the or she is being scalded when coming in contact with hot water. It is best to stay away from hot tubs, hot water bottles that are used like heating pads, and hot bath water. It is also recommended that diabetes patients avoid using electric blankets, heating pads, and walking on hot surfaces, such as a sandy beach on a summer day.