Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels rise higher than normal. Over time, having too much sugar in your blood can cause serious foot problems. Although diabetes has no cure, you can take steps to manage your diabetes and keep your feet healthy. Led by Dr. Zeineldin Ahmad and Dr. Michael Stein, Foot Doctor of the East Bay (offices in San Leandro, CA, Pleasanton, CA, and Los Gatos, CA) offers a full range of podiatric services. Here are 7 foot-care tips all diabetics should know.
1. Examine your feet daily. Stay a step ahead of diabetes-related foot complications by checking your feet every day. Search for problems such as redness, calluses, blisters, corns, cuts, sores, swelling, ingrown nails, or any other changes to the nails or skin. Look for signs of decreased blood flow, such as temperature variation, shiny or thin skin, and abnormal hairlessness.
2. Wash your feet daily. Washing your feet will keep your feet bacteria free. Wash your feet every day in lukewarm (not hot) water. Always check bath water with your wrist to make sure it's not too hot. Use a mild soap. Wash all areas of your feet, especially under your toes and between them. Don’t soak your feet. Dry your feet completely after washing and pay special attention to drying between the toes.
3. Keep your skin soft. Use a diabetic foot cream or skin moisturizer every day to keep your skin soft, prevent cracking. Cracking occurs when skin becomes extremely dry. Apply a thin coat of diabetic foot cream or skin moisturizer on the tops and bottoms of your feet. But don't moisturize between the toes.The extra moisture between the toes can lead to infection.
4. Wear socks and shoes. Wear socks and shoes at all times. Don't walk around barefoot when indoors or outdoors. Choose clean, comfortable socks that fit well. Socks that have no seams are best. Don't wear shoes that leave your toes or heels unprotected open-toed shoes or flip-flops. Check inside your shoes before wearing them. Make sure there are no objects inside before you put them on.
5. Trim your toenails when needed. Trim your toenails after showering, when they're soft. Cut straight across, then smooth the corners with a nail file. This prevents the toenails from growing into the skin. Avoid cutting the corners of the toenails. Keep your toenails at a moderate length. Short toenails are more prone to becoming ingrown nails. have a podiatrist trim your toenails if you cannot reach or your feet.
6. Be more active throughout the day. Regular exercise can improve your health and blood glucose control. Being active also improves blood flow to the feet. Ask your healthcare provider for safe ways to be more active every day. Move more by swimming, dancing, walking, or going bike riding. If you're very active, start slowly. Wear athletic shoes that are made for your activity.
7. See a podiatrist regularly. A podiatrist can help you protect and take care of your feet. Podiatrists are doctors specializing in foot and ankle care, including the treatment of diabetes-related problems. See your podiatrist regularly, even if you don't have any problems with your feet. Get your feet examined by your podiatrist at every visit. Your doctor will play a key role in helping you manage diabetes successfully and avoid foot complications.
When you have diabetes, your feet need a little TLC. Call one of Foot Doctor of the East Bay's offices to schedule an appointment- San Leandro, CA- (510) 483-3390; Pleasanton, CA- (925) 425-9684; Los Gatos, CA- (408) 356-6767. Taking care of your feet can prevent problems before they start!