A small cut can
produce deleterious consequences. Diabetes may cause nerve damage that
takes away the sensation in your feet. Diabetes may also reduce
blood flow to the feet, making it difficult for an injury to heal or
to resist infection. Due to these problems, one may not notice a
foreign object in the shoe and as a result you could develop a blister
or a sore which may not be felt because of damage to your nerves. This
could lead to an infection or a non-healing wound that could put you
at risk for an amputation. Surprisingly, up to eighty-four percent of
leg amputations are preceded by an ulcer. Amputation is preventable
via good care. Good care saves the legs.
with diabetes need to learn how to recognize the early signs and
symptoms of foot problems. These include decreased sensation in the
feet, changes in the contour of one or both feet;
a sensation of walking on a carpet while walking on bare floor,
persistent pain in the foot joints, pain in the legs or buttocks that
increases with walking and improves with rest; hairlesslegs and feet,
hard shiny skin on feet; bruises and sores. One should be aware of the
difference in the need for home foot care, when to call the doctor and
when a problem has become dangerous enough to seek emergency
In view of all these:
Check for cuts, blisters, redness, swelling, or nail problems. Use a
magnifying hand mirror to look at the bottom of your feet. Call your
doctor if you notice anything.
Wash your feet
in lukewarm (not hot!) water.
Keep your feet clean by washing them daily. Use only lukewarm
water – the temperature you would use on a newborn baby.
Be gentle when
bathing your feet.
Wash them using a soft washcloth or sponge. Dry by blotting or
patting, and carefully dry the area between the toes.
your feet – but not between your toes.
Use a moisturizer daily to keep dry skin from itching or cracking
(especially the harmattan season for Nigerians), but DON’T moisturize
between the toes – that could encourage a fungal infection.
Cut them straight across and file the edges. Don’t cut nails too
short, as this could lead to ingrown toe nails. If you have concerns
about your nails, consult your doctor.
corns or calluses yourself.
No “bathroom surgery” or medicated pads. Visit your doctor for
Change them daily.
wrong type of socks.
Avoid tight elastic bands (they reduce circulation). Don’t wear thick
or bulky socks (they can fit poorly and irritate the skin).
Wear socks to
If your feet get cold at night, wear socks. NEVER use a heating pad or
hot water bottle.
Shake out your
shoes and feel the inside before wearing. Remember, due to diminished
sensation in your feet, your feet may not be able to feel a pebble
,pin or other foreign object, so always inspect your shoes before
putting them on.
Keep your feet
warm and dry.
Don’t let your feet get wet in snow or rain. Wear warm socks and shoes
Not even at home! Always wear soft shoes or slippers. You could step
on something and get a scratch or cut.
Take care of
Keep your blood sugar level under control. (comply with your
physician’s instructions and medication)
Smoking restricts blood flow in your feet.
Seeing your foot and ankle surgeon on a regular basis can help prevent
the foot complications of diabetes.