If you have diabetes and you notice any of these symptoms:
– Athlete’s Foot (or cracking of the skin between your toes)
– Sores or wounds on your feet
– Numbness or pain in your feet
– Redness or swelling
– Blackening or darkening of skin
– Ingrown toenails
– Infection or wounds that don’t heal
– Hammer toes (the middle joint of the toes is permanently bent downward)
You need to contact your doctor, preferably a NeuropathyDR® clinician, immediately. You could have the beginning signs of diabetic neuropathy in your feet. And that can lead to serious medical problems – even amputation.
And you’re not alone. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 20% of people with diabetes end up in the hospital with foot problems. The reduced blood flow caused by both your diabetes and the resultant neuropathy make it hard for you to feel blisters or sores on your feet. It can even be hard to tell that your socks or shoes don’t fit properly.
But there are steps you can take to take better care of your feet and reduce your risk of serious complications.
Tips for Caring for Your Feet
• Check your feet every day. Look at your bare feet to make sure you don’t have any sores, blisters, or swelling. If you can’t see the bottoms of your feet, use a mirror or ask someone else to check them for you.
• Wash your feet every day and dry them completely to eliminate the possibility of fungus growth.
• Use a good lotion on your feet to keep your skin smooth and prevent dry, cracked skin. Don’t use lotion between your toes – it will keep the skin there too moist and that breeds bacteria.
• Trim your toenails but not too short. Cut them straight across and file the edges with a nail file to prevent ingrown toenails.
• Always wear shoes and socks – even inside your house. If you have neuropathy, it’s just too easy to step on something and injure your feet without even feeling it.
• Wear comfortable shoes, preferable shoes designed for people with diabetic neuropathy in their feet. Check your shoes before you put them on and make sure the lining is intact and smooth and that nothing is in your shoes.
• Never put your feet in hot water. Always check the temperature of your bath water with your elbow before stepping into it.
• Never use hot water bottles or heating pads on your feet. Your neuropathy makes it harder to sense extreme temperatures and you can burn your feet without even knowing you’ve done it.
• When you’re sitting down, prop your feet up to keep the blood circulating. Move your toes and ankles to keep the blood pumping.
• Never cross your legs when sitting.
Prevention Is The Best Way To Avoid Diabetic Neuropathy in Your Feet
Other than taking really good care of your feet, the best thing you can do to avoid the serious medical issues that come with diabetic neuropathy is to manage your diabetes and prevent problems from occurring. If you have diabetes, you need to:
• Exercise regularly – talk to your NeuropathyDr® clinician about an exercise program that will work for you.
• If you smoke, stop now…today.
• Keep a close eye on your blood sugar.
• Eat a healthy diet – again, talk to your NeuropathyDR® clinician about the best diet plan for your needs to manage your diabetes.
Above all else, pay attention to your body, especially your feet. Assess your current medical situation and take note of any of the symptoms we described. If you are experiencing any of these issues associated with diabetic neuropathy, contact your local NeuropathyDR® and take full advantage of their expertise in the treatment of peripheral neuropathies, including diabetic neuropathy.
For more information on coping with diabetic neuropathy, get your Free E-Book and subscription to the Weekly Ezine “Beating Neuropathy” at https://neuropathydr.com.