World Diabetes Day was held this past week, and we are continuing to bring awareness to the skin care aspects of diabetes.
Those who do not suffer from diabetes—or have loved ones who deal with the disease—often do not realize that the skin is hugely affected by diabetes. Those with diabetes are more prone to dry, dehydrated skin. Lips become chapped more easily, and it can be difficult to keep skin moisturized and comfortable.
The feet in particular are prone to skin-related issues—so much so that diabetes foot care is something in and of itself. There are two main foot conditions related to diabetes: diabetic neuropathy, which damages the nerves, and peripheral vascular disease, which affects the flow of blood and thereby limits wound healing.
The latter in particular leads to skin issues in the feet because the skin is not getting the nourishment it needs from proper blood flow. Feet will be much drier and prone to callouses, and wounds will take longer to heal.
There are a number of steps one can take to limit the symptoms of diabetic foot conditions. Here’s a quick go-to list for diabetic foot care tips. Please keep in mind that none of these tips are intended to take the place of your doctor’s recommendations. Before attempting any care of diabetic foot issues, consult your doctor.
Bathe feet daily in lukewarm water. Wash your feet as you would a newborn baby in comfortably tepid water. After bathing, inspect your feet for any issues including blisters, cuts, swelling, redness, or nail problems. If you cannot see the bottom of your feet, use a hand mirror or sit in front of a full length mirror with the bottoms of your feet in the reflection.
Keep feet dry. Blot feet dry after bathing, paying special attention to the areas between the toes which are prone to fungal overgrowth when damp.
Perfect your at-home pedicure. You don’t have to paint your nails, but do keep them cut and filed as to not accidentally cut one toe on another’s nail. Cut nails straight across, not too short as to avoid ingrown nails, and file the edges until they are smooth.
Moisturize after feet are entirely dry. Use ATOPALM Foot and Heel Balm, which helps repair and support the skin’s natural lipid layer, which is often compromised in those with diabetes. Apply Foot and Heel Balm gently yet thoroughly to the entire foot except between toes in order to keep that area dry and fungus-free. Focus on calloused areas, and avoid any wounds.
Never treat tough callouses or corns alone. If you find that your callouses will not soften with basic moisturizing, or corns are developing, see your doctor. Never attempt to remove them yourself, as you risk wounding your feet and causing worse issues.
Wear clean socks every day. If poor circulation is leaving your feet cold, wear socks at night as well, changing them as necessary. Never use a heading pad or hot water bottle on cold feet, as diabetic foot conditions may prevent you from feeling potential burns.
Never go barefoot even when you’re at home. This is to make sure that your feet don’t get scratched or cut by unseen things on the floor. If you dislike wearing outside shoes for fear of germs, keep a pair of house shoes or slippers available. Additionally, inspect shoes before putting them on, as your feet may not be able to feel a foreign object that could injure your foot while walking.
By remembering these simple diabetic foot care tips, you’ll be less likely to experience a complication stemming from improper foot care or accidental injury. Remember above all that regular foot checkups are a top priority, even with excellent at-home care. Talk to your doctor to find out how often you should receive an in-office foot checkup.
Diabetic foot care doesn’t have to feel like a chore. While it certainly takes more time to care for your feet than the average person, take it as a moment to truly care for yourself and your body. Relax and unwind while you wash your feet, practice breathing exercises while massaging in Foot and Heel Balm, and take pride in your at-home pedicure practices. Take every opportunity you can to pamper yourself, and you’ll find that diabetic foot care feels more like serious spa care.