If you’re living with diabetes, you’ll know the importance of foot care. Because of your raised blood sugar, the sensation to your feet can be damaged. Diabetes can also cause issues with your circulation which can mean cuts and sores take longer to heal.
Don’t worry, although it may be an inconvenience in your everyday life, there are lots of ways of preventing these problems from developing. Here’s a handy guide all about how diabetes affects the feet and what can be done to stop problems from getting worse over time.
How does diabetes affect the feet?
Common foot problems caused by diabetes include athlete’s foot, calluses, blisters and bunions – to name a few. More serious problems include diabetic neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease.
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with diabetes, you may be wondering how it affects your feet. The increase in glucose (blood sugar) can be responsible for a lot of annoying little problems and if these are left untreated, can cause irreversible damage.
Some of the low-level issues include calluses, blisters and corns and they happen because there is a lot of pressure under the feet. Luckily, these are perfectly treatable with plasters, proper moisturisers and cushioned insoles. However, it’s important to keep on top of your foot care as these smaller problems could be early warning signs for worse foot-related problems in the future.
If left uncontrolled, diabetes can be responsible for nerve damage in your legs and feet. This is called diabetic neuropathy. The nerve damage may mean you stop feeling sensations such as hot and cold or even a cut or sore. Because of the loss of sensation, a cut could potentially become infected which has the potential to be a serious medical problem.
Similarly, you may be at risk of developing peripheral vascular disease. Because of the poor circulation of your blood, any infections or cuts that you experience may take a lot longer to heal than normal. Of course, this also makes you prone to infection.
How to look after diabetic feet
That might all sound doom and gloom but there are plenty of ways to stop these more serious problems from happening. It’s all about looking after your feet every day and knowing when to take a problem to a doctor. Here’s how to look after diabetic feet:
- Examine your feet every day and look out for any changes in appearance or sensation.
- Continue any ongoing treatment for corns, calluses and blisters. You may need to see a chiropodist occasionally to get them properly cared for.
- Wash your feet thoroughly every day. Just some warm water and soap will do. Make sure to check the temperature of the water with your elbow as any nerve damage in your feet and or hands may not alert you to very hot water.
- Promote blood flow by putting your feet up when sitting down. Now and then, give them a good wiggle. Try to avoid sitting cross-legged if you can.
- Wear socks and stockings to protect your feet at all times. This not only keeps them warm but also adds an extra layer of protection from cuts, scrapes and irritation from shoes.
- Invest in a few pairs of diabetic shoes to make walking as comfortable as possible.
What are diabetic shoes?
Diabetic shoes are different from the standard shoe as they have a more cushioned sole, are wider and the interiors tend to be made from softer materials.
If you’re living with diabetes, choosing the right footwear is essential. If you continue to wear regular shoes, you will only be making your feet worse. Avoid shoes that offer little to no support, anything with a pointed toe and ditch the heels. These all aggravate your feet and will most likely be responsible for any calluses, bunions, blisters and corns.
Instead, look for shoes that come in an extra-wide fit to help with any swelling. Extra-wide shoes give you the perfect balance between comfort and style. Here at Easy Fit, we have a range of extra-wide shoes available in up to a 6E fit, the widest on the market. So, if you’re struggling to find the right width shoe at your regular shoe retailer, you’ve come to the right place.
To help your feet even further, look into getting some diabetic socks. These are made with fewer seams to reduce rubbing and blistering. They are also designed to reduce the build-up of moisture which can contribute to fungal problems.
Being diagnosed with diabetes can be a stressful time. It can mean quite a few lifestyle changes and there is a lot of information to read through and understand. Looking out for your feet as a diabetic is just one of the things you’ll need to start taking seriously. Luckily, it’s easy to take control. Simply check your feet every day, note any changes and make sure you’re wearing the right shoes out and about to help with any pain or discomfort.